‘There is an innate desire in every young person who is at university to be treated like an adult… Honesty is key, communicating with students and getting them on board.’ Simeon Orduen, HUSU President, Education
Wednesday 1st July was the final day of the conference, beginning with a keynote that highlighted Student/Staff partnerships in action, given by Colin Johnson, Chris Murphy, Nicole Steele and Ryan Ward. Three concepts stood out clearly – transparency, inclusivity and authenticity, a vital bedrock on which to build a new generation of partnership. This was followed by Adele Sewell of Bishop Burton College discussing the literature behind best practice in engaging HE students, leading excellently into a panel discussion from student partners at the University of Hull. Our next discussion paper was given, once more, in partnership between staff and students – from Dr Rob Clucas, Emma Durkin and Devon van der Westhuizen. This paper, Surviving/Thriving in Your First Year’ demonstrated the real value of how student experience can be enhanced by these partnerships – with the excellent example of the word ‘surviving’ being changed to ‘thriving’ following student advice! Finally, the conference ended with a plenary panel between Debbie McVitty, Professor Becky Huxley-Binns, Professor Graham Scott and Simeon Orduen, followed by Kathy Wright’s presentation on Celebrating Learning Community in a Time of Crisis. A fitting title, as this really captures what the 2020 Learning and Teaching Conference was about. Celebration. A reflection on the ever evolving, ever-growing joined-up community within the sector. This message of strength through diversity, energy through enterprise and positivity through partnership was welcome and I am sure I am not the only one who walked away (or, more accurately, shut down my computer) with a renewed sense of optimism and excitement for what comes next.
Dr Ed Hurst, Lecturer in Creative Writing, University of Hull
Please note: Recordings from the Conference are now available online.