New Director of Policy outlines vision

Bedfordshire’s newly-appointed Director of Policy has outlined her plans for the future of higher education and the University

Dr Debbie McVitty, whose role is to advise Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell, says Bedfordshire is in a position to become a leading university in creating a more personalised approach to the student experience, taking account of the diverse backgrounds and talents of Bedfordshire’s student body.

“It’s interesting how the concept of ‘student experience’ is changing, as well as how we think about the student experience,” explained Dr McVitty, who is the Member for the Student Interest on the Higher Education Funding Council for Englands’ (HEFCE) Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategic Advisory Committee.

“It [student experience] used to be purely about satisfaction, whereas now it’s about engagement and personalisation.

“It’s about recognising the diversity of the experience so that students feel that their relationship with a university is a personal one. It’s about building a culture in which everyone values student opinion and actively seeks it.”

Dr McVitty, former Head of Policy at the National Union of Students (NUS), joined the University in September and is a firm believer in widening access to education.

“Society and employers need to stop using universities as an indicator of status and instead look at the qualifications and the qualities of the individual.

“It’s about creating a system where people are able to study the types of subjects they want, to pursue the career they want and not, at any stage, face barriers presented from all different parts of society.”