Keeping students at the heart

No one should ever think of students simply as a source of revenue, says Prof Paul Ryan, Pro V-C Student Experience at Regent’s University London

What best illustrates the excellent student experience you are offering?

In terms of Regent’s University London’s physical facilities, I would say our most successful initiative is the Student Hub – situated in a central location and online for all of our students to interact with their personal tutors and benefit from other important academic, welfare and pastoral services.

Following a very successful first National Student Survey, particularly in relation to student voice, we have also ensured that our students and the Students’ Union are fully represented at every level across the university. From programme committees to validations, Boards and our Senate Committee meetings. This is a vital development and allows the University’s decision-making to be fully influenced and engaged with the student body’s views and opinions.

What recent developments at your campus best show your commitment to boosting student experience?

We’re currently engaging with a number of initiatives to further improve our student experience, ranging from having our own Interior Design BA (Hons) students work on a redesign of the University’s Park Campus reception area, through to exploring new technology to make our campus more navigable and accessible for disabled students.

Our refurbished design studios and Marylebone Theatre are recent development that have contributed to academic learning, while allowing students to engage in performances for and with the local community and industry professionals. For example, as well as putting on a series of plays which will be open to the public beginning this October, our design students support the annual Marylebone Interiors Day, which sees their work displayed on campus and in retail store windows across the local area. 

With tuition fees continuing to rise, how might students’ expectations change?

As one of the UK’s few independent, not-for-profit universities, all of our students pay the same tuition fees regardless of their nationality. All of our surplus is reinvested back into the University for the benefit of the student experience. While many higher education institutions seem to be struggling with budgetary constraints and balancing priorities between teaching research and third-stream activity, we believe this uniform approach to fees offers a much fairer and consistent solution.

Finally, how would you sum up the best ‘student experience’?

Everything we do as an institution contributes to creating the very best student experience. This process starts even before a student comes to Regent’s. At the enquiry stage our professional services colleagues are with the students every step of the way. This continues through an extended induction and includes how we welcome our students, how we engage parents and guardians, the quality of our facilities, teaching and learning, our range of courses, academic expertise, care and support, engagement with industry, and the quality of our graduate networks.

All of this contributes to ensuring that our students are at the centre of everything we do. No one should ever think of students simply as a source of revenue. The most important contribution of our international and domestic students is the richness of perspective they bring to share. This is essential in a globalising environment and contributes to mutual understanding and facilitating peace in an increasingly complex world.

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