The right environment

Rav Panesar, HE Business Development Manager at Leeds City College’s University Centre, talks the student experience

What best illustrates the excellent student experience you are offering?

We believe we offer an environment that’s right for our students. The University Centre provides a dedicated, relaxed and supportive learning environment perfect for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

We encourage collaboration and inclusivity with breakout rooms, study areas, IT suites and Wifi as standard. Smaller class sizes, compressed timetables, excellent employer links, a free Chomebook (or equivalent) for all our first year students and lower fees, provides the best experience for our students. 

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

We continue to invest in our facilities and for September 2017, our University Centre will have dedicated social and study zones, an onsite librarian to help with report writing and academic skills, plus our very own deli so students can ensure they are looked after whilst studying with us.

Our provision continues to be reviewed to ensure it meets the needs of employers, with a number of significant changes to our courses. This includes revamping our computing courses where we now offer Cyber Security and Networking to meet the skills shortages in the district and beyond.

We have also made a significant change to our business courses and will run Business, Enterprise and Management, which includes an enterprise element for those starting or running their own businesses. 

Are we doing enough to ensure that international students have the best possible experience? Are the potential effects of Brexit for our European students any clearer now?

[It is] currently unknown at this early stage but it will become clearer as negotiations take place. As we are a small institution, this will not affect us as much as the bigger HE providers.

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

As fees increase, I believe the expectations of students will likely to change with more personalised tailored support to meet individual needs.  This could include more contact time with personal tutors and more holistic teaching which prepares graduates with the higher level skills needed for employment.

There will be more of a requirement for institutions to have a fully networked establishment that links directly with employers, providing enrichment experiences that are embedded within the curriculum.

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

I strongly believe that understanding student needs from the outset and providing the infrastructure for them exceed their potential is what makes up the best student experience. This can include, for example, excellent sports facilities, Students’ Union, work experience, employer links, societies and innovative blended learning that motivates and engages students, providing high quality graduate destinations.

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