1st Edition

Advancing Student Engagement in Higher Education Reflection, Critique and Challenge

Edited By Tom Lowe Copyright 2023
    312 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    312 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Providing a selection of critical pieces on the key challenges and debates in student engagement in higher education, this edited collection of sector-leading, scholarly-informed critical reflections is designed to consider and build upon what can be done to advance student engagement.

    By problematising student engagement practice, this book explores how to strengthen policies, recognise the issues and create solutions to overcome barriers and tensions. It considers topics such as diversity, accessibility, representativeness, evidencing impact, data analytics, the campus estate and the impact of COVID-19. The contributors provide lessons learned and knowledge from the field to make practice with students more considered and robust for the challenges ahead in the post-pandemic university.

    Moving beyond endorsing student engagement and offering best practice to critically reflect on and challenge our engagements with students in contemporary higher education, this book is ideal reading for all those developing education, course leaders and heads of academic departments, as well as anyone interested in advancing student engagement in their higher education setting.


    Rosie Tressler

    1. Advancing student engagement in higher education: the need for reflection, critique and challenge

    Tom Lowe

    2. Researching and evaluating student engagement: A methodological critique of data gathering approaches

    Dr Liz Austen, Nathaniel Pickering and Alan Donnelly

    3. Challenges and tensions for student academic engagement practices in contemporary UK higher education

    Sarah Bayless

    4. There is not one student experience: Our learner journeys as individuals

    Fatima Umar

    5. Equality and diversity in our student engagement practice: Radical possibilities to reaching racial and religious equity in Higher Education

    Maisha Islam

    6. Authentic leadership for student engagement

    Harriet Dunbar-Morris

    7. Students as consumers: A barrier for student engagement?

    Louise Taylor Bunce, Clare Rathbone and Naomi King

    8. Accessibility to Student Engagement Opportunities: A Focus on ‘Hard to Reach’ Universities

    Cassie Lowe and Tom Lowe

    9: How to engage students in your educational developments – a student leader’s view

    Talia Adams

    10. Student evaluation of courses - cocreation of meaning through conversations: Insights from the student perspective

    Katja Eftring and Torgny Roxå

    11. The problem with student engagement during Covid-19

    Jim Dickinson

    12. Control, freedom and structure in student-staff partnerships

    Jenny Marie and Stuart Sims

    13. To what extent can we really make students partners in neoliberal universities?

    Tanya Lubicz-Nawrocka

    14. Critical Challenges to Support Generation Z Learners

    Mollie Dollinger

    15. Student-instructor partnerships for curricular justice

    Sophia Abbot

    16. Embracing student agentic engagement and enacting equity in higher education through co-creating learning and teaching

    Alison Cook-Sather and Jia Yi Loh

    17. Defining, Delivering and Evaluating Student Engagement in a Professional Service in Higher Education: A Case Study of a Student Engagement Team in an Academic Library

    Madalene George

    18. University estates: From spaces to places of student engagement

    Zachery Spire

    19. Learning Analytics in Higher Education: The ethics, the future, the students

    Zoheir Beig

    20. Placing sport at the heart of the university community: A critical reflection on sports club membership and what it means for student engagement from a Bourdieusian perspective

    Maria Moxey, Keith Parry and Hazel Brown 

    21. Towards inclusive student partnership: challenges and opportunities for student engagement in the Australian context

    Kate Walsh and Alison Jaquet

    22. Recognising the hidden impact of extra-curricular activity on student engagement and success

    Eddie Corr

    23. Widening the Aperture on College Students’ Sense of Belonging: A Critical Ecological Perspective

    Terrell L. Strayhorn

    24. Valhalla and Nirvana: views of Arnstein’s Ladder of Citizen Participation in further and higher education

    Simon Varwell

    25. So what and what next? Concluding thoughts on advancing student engagement

    Tom Lowe


    Tom Lowe is a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at the University of Portsmouth (UK) and the Chair of Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE).

    'This book disrupts simplistic ideas about student engagement, turning over many a neoliberal stone to reveal questions of power at the heart of students’ relationship to the University. It does exactly what it claims: advances student engagement and invites the reader to take a critical, reflective, and challenging stance about a concept that has become a buzzword. I recommend it highly.'

    Prof Tansy Jessop NTF, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education, University of Bristol (UK).

    'Anyone who has attempted to innovate their practice with students, run a student feedback workshop, or engage students as partners will know that there are numerous challenges. This edited collection draws together practitioners from across the field who discuss these challenges up-front, offering innovative recommendations and flexible practice to ensure students are truly included. There are important questions to be continuously addressed in our universities relating to inclusivity and equality opportunities to engage, and this book is a great starting point for colleagues looking to engage students within their area of the modern university.'

    Prof Claire Hamshire NTF, Vice President (Europe), International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning & Head of International. Manchester Metropolitan University (UK).

    'The book frames students clearly as invested members of the university community, and emphasises the importance of knowing about and embedding student engagement in all aspects of university life and work. Threaded through the book is the consistent message that each student is a unique learner who needs, in fact deserves, individual attention, and the task of achieving this is explored and explained in different contexts.'

    Dr Rachel Forsyth PFHEA, Editor in Chief of the Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal & Project Leader, Lund University (Sweden).

    'This book provides a much-needed, in-depth exploration of the context of student engagement in higher education today, and makes a powerful case for why we should continuously be reflecting on our current practices. It is both a detailed discussion of the current academic debates at play, while remaining an accessible resource for anyone interested in ensuring the success of student engagement.'

    Livia Scott, Students’ Union Community and Projects Officer, Wonkhe.

    'This is an excellent volume, timely and comprehensive, which explores the variety of contexts for student engagement in today’s HE landscape. Building on existing works, it continues to make the case for student engagement as a crucial focus for HE institutions, but the collection also problematises student engagement, challenging assumptions and investigating barriers. This critical dimension is a key strength of the collection. The recommendations for improving practice which emerge from its chapters are invaluable.'

    Prof Stephen McVeigh, Chair of Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) (2019-22) & Associate Dean – Education, Swansea University (UK).