Student Engagement Conference

You said, we did … now what?

Empowering the student voice, enhancing student engagement and harnessing the power of evaluation

Held on Thursday 19th October 2023 in London

A collection of abstracts and papers presented

you said we did now what student engagement conference 2023

Download slide decks

Danielle Thibodeau – Co-creation through scholarship

 S Fuller – Creative enquiry to empower student voice QMUL

L Taylor – Photovoice for advanced learning

A Qian – Motivating intl PGT students at UK business schools

G Salmon – Creating Student Engagement for the Future: Designs and Benefits

D Grey – Enhancing Student Engagement through structured Personal Tutoring

J Thomas – Developing a data-driven module enhancement service

S Leslie – Harnessing evaluation for data-driven decision making

E Chapman – Student Voice in its Many Colours

 H Lim and H MorganJones NSS Workshop_HMJ

S O’Reilly – Transforming Learning in the Irish TU Sector

G Knight & A Gagliardi – Engagement project

S Andrews & K Cuthbert – Co-creation from the ground up

P Gunasekera – Safe, Sustainable Student-led Community Engagement

Sharing knowledge and good practice with peers at the evasys student engagement conference

Higher education practitioners, students and industry bodies shared ideas and best practices around student engagement at the evasys Student Engagement Conference.

Practitioners from across the University sector shared their experiences and insights through presenting successful case studies, research projects, student-facing initiatives and embedded good practices.  

Conference themes

This dynamic and interactive conference showcased a diverse range of work, activities and creative practice from across the higher education sector.  The overarching themes of the conference were:

  • Empowering the student voice

  • Enhancing student engagement

  • Harnessing evaluation for data-driven decision making

  • Improving NSS and TEF outcomes

  • Exploring emerging trends and future direction of student evaluation

Backup of evasys student engagement conference 2023 B cdr
  • Theme: Empowering the student voice, enhancing student engagement and harnessing the power of evaluation

  • This event has passed, it was held on Thursday 19th October

  • Location: The Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London

  • Cost: There is no charge for this event

This event provided an excellent opportunity to network with like-minded professionals, learn from other practitioners and students, and engage in and contribute to insightful discussions around student voice, student engagement and student surveys.

Who attended:

Senior and middle leaders, Innovators and strategists, Academics, educators, tutors – all subject areas, Leaders, strategists, Learning designers, learning technologists and academic developers.

Conference Programme

Our programme on the day was packed with expert speakers covering a wide range of topics that impact student engagement and the student voice. Representatives from University of London, Advance HE, University of Plymouth, London Higher, Middlesex University, Swansea University and more will share knowledge and insights through keynotes, workshops, paper presentations and roundtables.

Speaker biographies

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Gilly Salmon ( Ph.D., PFHEA, NTF.)

CEO and Principal Consultant at Education Alchemists Ltd.

Professor Salmon is one of the world’s leading thinkers, researchers and practitioners in learning futures. She publishes, blogs & presents on pedagogical innovation and learning transformation. Her books ‘E-moderating’ & ‘E-tivities’ are considered seminal texts. Her ‘Carpe Diem’ learning design methodology is extensively deployed internationally. She has 30+ years of experience, in universities in UK, Europe and Australia. She has implemented significant educational changes. She is an Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, and Visiting Professor at the Universities of Law, Derby, and Edge Hill, in the UK.

Knight Charles original

Dr Charles Knight

Assistant Director, Knowledge and Innovation, Advance HE

Charles is an academic leader with a proven track record of delivery in the areas of learning and teaching and enterprise.

Prior to joining Advance HE, he was Associate Dean (Student Experience) at Salford Business School where he worked with colleagues to introduce a series of innovative practices including short technical qualifications, block teaching and an increased emphasis on the use of simulations and experimental learning. He was also involved in setting up a North-West Attainment Gap group bring together business schools.

As an educator, he was nominated as ‘most innovative teacher in Higher Education’ at the 2016 THEAs and was nominated in Edge Hill University’s Student Teaching award each year between 2012-2019 and won three times. He has worked extensively with a range of universities at the strategic level to develop and rationale their portfolios.

While at Edge Hill University, he was a director of the ERDF funded Productivity and Innovation Centre. The centre worked with a range of organisations to develop new products, services and pricing models based on data driven insights.

Over the last ten years he has been involved in both ‘pure’ research projects and commercially funded work on a consultancy basis. He has undertaken a range of strategic consultancy projects for both higher education and commercial organisations around issues such as micro-qualifications, process re-engineering and portfolio review.

Charles has a PhD in information Systems from the University of Leeds where he was employed as a researcher by the AimTech Research Group. While at the Business School, he was involved in a range of projects around information management and the impact of innovative or disruptive technologies.


Callum Perry

Callum Perry

Associate Tutor, University of East Anglia

Callum was Undergraduate Education Officer at UEASU between 2019-21, supporting course representation, teaching and learning strategy and curriculum. During this period, Callum also held roles as QAA Student Strategic Advisory Committee (SSAC), TEF Student Panel Member (OFS) supporting new TEF submissions processes and was the president of the Aurora Universities Alliance and Network, supporting student voice across 9 universities in Europe. Callum has conducted representation work on TEF submissions, Access and Participation Plans (APP), and worked on UEAs student partnership agreement and 5-year strategy, bringing student voice to the forefront of university thinking. Callum’s background is in Education, having completed an Undergraduate Degree in Education Studies at UEA. Callum has recently completed his Masters in Social Science Research Methods at UEA and has just started a PhD in Higher Education Pedagogy. Currently, Callum is Lecturer of Inclusive Learning at City College Norwich teaching young people with SEND and supporting the leadership of the course curriculum. Alongside this, Callum took up school governance as a way to continue developing governance and leadership skills. Callum is a governor at two local Norfolk secondary schools and oversees link responsibilities for Safeguarding, Careers, SEND, and also chairs a standard and learning committee.

David Grey

David Grey

Chief Executive of the UK Advising and Tutoring Association (UKAT)

David Grey is the Chief Executive of the UK Advising and Tutoring Association (UKAT), a UK higher education membership association focused on ensuring that every HE student experiences effective personal tutoring which personalises their learning and enables them to flourish. David has over 25 years’ experience as a Computer Science academic, personal tutor, and educational developer, with a leadership focus on learning and teaching, the student experience and personal tutoring. He has lead institution-wide projects to revise and enhance personal tutoring provision and publishes regularly in the field. He is an AHE Senior Fellow and UKAT Recognised Leader in Advising.

Dr Diana Beech CEO London Higher square

Dr Diana Beech

CEO, London Higher

As CEO of London Higher, Diana is responsibility for leading the organisation’s aims and objections, being a voice for London’s universities and higher education colleges. Diana has previously worked in government as a policy adviser to three Ministers of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation. Prior to this she was the first Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).

Emily Dixon

Emily Dixon

Programmes, Communications & Research Officer, London Higher

Emily works with our AccessHE division, overseeing the work of forums and leading on communications with AccessHE members and partners. She also supports London Higher’s research programme, including upcoming reports on the uptake of foreign languages degrees and extensive work on the pan London International Educational Strategy and London Student Experience report. Emily previously worked in the Education office of Shakespeare’s Globe, designing projects and resources for targeted and bespoke education programmes for young people. She maintains her interest in literature and is in the process of completing an MA in Medieval Studies.

Danielle Thibodeau

Danielle Thibodeau

Innovation & Learning Manager, Queen Mary Academy (QMUL)

Danielle has 20 years of experience in educational settings focused on access to and equity in higher education, particularly in the development of partnerships between higher education and other sectors. In addition to her work with universities, her background includes work with organisations that work in conjunction with universities to support marginalised communities. As an Innovation and Learning Manager with the Queen Mary Academy at Queen Mary, University of London, Danielle supports the pedagogic development of academic and professional staff, both by responding to the strategic goals of the institution and by creating space for new ideas. 

Graeme Hathaway

Graeme Hathaway

Innovation & Learning Manager, Queen Mary University of London

Graeme’s background in education spans both Higher and Further Education sectors, with a focus on learning and teaching development, often aligned to the innovative use of digital practice and incorporation of the student voice. His experience includes developing accessible provision and analytic informed interventions designed to ensure an equitable learning experience for all. As an Innovation and Learning Manager at Queen Mary, University of London he supports the scholarly development of both educators and learners through initiatives including Peer-Led-Team-Learning (PLTL) and use of Learner Engagement Analytics (LEA). Graeme has recently completed a 12-month secondment as the Head of Innovation and Learning at Queen Mary, University of London.

Elise Omfalos

Elise Omfalos

Innovation & Learning Manager, Queen Mary University of London

Elise Omfalos has 20 years of experience as a global Educator, delivering innovative learning solutions in diverse environments. She has a wealth of experience in course design, giving the learner an active and central role. She has developed flexible programmes for adult students, including reflective practice and workplace-based assessments. Elise is keen to leverage technology to make learning more efficient and inclusive and as an Innovation and Learning Manager at Queen Mary University of London, she is exploring innovative ways to enable learners to flourish. Her work includes supporting the adoption of Virtual Reality and Learner Engagement Analytics for Curriculum Design

Rod Angood

Rod Angood

Managing Director & Principal Visioning Director, Education Alchemists Ltd

Rod Angood is MD and Principal Visioning Director at Education Alchemists Ltd. Previously he held senior roles as Executive Director of Information Technology and Information Systems at two UK universities. His first career was as a Royal Naval Officer in the Submarine Service. He brings extensive experience of leadership development, strategy and organisation.

Rod is now an established Graphic Artist providing ‘Artist in Residence’ services to Carpe Diem and Futuring workshops, supporting keynote speeches with real time artistic images, and academics with pictures and diagrams that explore concepts, ideas and models.

Colum Mackey

Colum Mackey

Head of Advocacy and Policy, Greenwich Students’ Union

Colum Mackey is the Head of Advocacy and Policy, and a member of the senior leadership team, at Greenwich Students’ Union. He leads the SU’s advice service, wellbeing and retention project and policy development work. Colum has a strong interest in using data to better inform how we engage students in the design and delivery of interventions that reduce inequalities in educational outcomes.

Tania Struetzel

Tania Struetzel

Head of Student Engagement and Success, University of Greenwich

Tania is the Head of Student Engagement and Success at the University of Greenwich, leading the new student engagement provision focusing on engagement, retention and success within the Student and Academic Services Directorate. She also teaches in the Business School. Tania previously worked at Middlesex University, where she was the institutional project lead for the TSEP Inclusive Engagement project exploring the experience of student representatives identifying as students of colour. Tania is also an External Trustee of a Students’ Union.

Huw Morgan Jones

Huw Morgan-Jones

Head of Surveys and Student Voice, University of London Worldwide

Huw leads on surveys and student voice for University of London, which offers degree programmes by online and distance learning to over 50,000 students in 180 countries. He leads on student satisfaction surveys, manages student engagement policies and mechanisms, and has contributed significant insight to support the University’s response to COVID-19.

Huw has spent 12 years in higher education. He holds an MSc in Social Research from Birkbeck and an LLB from the University of Manchester.

Dr Helena Lim evasys head of opportunities

Dr Helena Lim

Head of Opportunities, evasys

Helena has worked in higher education for more than twenty five years, including senior roles at Southampton Solent University and the Higher Education Academy, as well as holding Honorary Fellowships with University of Liverpool and Aberystwyth University.

With her strong background in institutional research, Helena is the founder of the UK and Ireland Higher Education Institutional Research (HEIR) and was Co-Convenor of the European Association for Institutional Research (EAIR) Special Interest on Institutional Research for Management Decision Support from 2008 to 2015. In her role at evasys, Helena supports higher education institutions in optimising their student feedback systems to enhance the student learning process.

Dr Ana Cabra

Dr Ana Cabral

Academic Practice and Student Engagement Manager, Queen Mary Academy

Dr Ana Cabral is currently an Academic Practice and Student Engagement Manager within the Queen Mary Academy and leads work on co-creation and recognition. She is a Senior Fellow of the HEA and her interests include teaching and learning in Higher Education and student engagement.

Louise Younie

Professor Louise Younie

Academic GP, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)

Professor Louise Younie (MBChB, MRCGP (dist), MSc (dist), EdD, NTF, PFHEA) is an academic GP at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) where she leads on faculty development and innovation. She has been innovating in the field of medical education for the last 20 years building extensive experience with creative enquiry methodologies for humanising medicine and human flourishing. She is a Flourishing Fellow working across QMUL to explore co-creatively with students and staff, what it means to flourish.

Steph Fuller

Dr Steph Fuller

Academic Practice Taught Programmes Manager, Queen Mary Academy

Dr Steph Fuller is Academic Practice Taught Programmes Manager at the Queen Mary Academy and leads educational development programmes for new academics, as well as an institution-wide project to update Queen Mary Graduate Attributes through which she has collaborated with a range of students and student representatives.

Ann Qian Dept of Management

Ann Qian

Lecturer, University of Chester

After graduating from Shanghai University and Durham University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law, Ann took on academic research position in Shanghai, with publications on various legal topics. She then stepped into commercial sector with 8-year extensive experience of Executive Assistant to CEO at UK SMEs, before joining the University of Chester as Researcher then Lecturer in business management.

Ann takes pride in mentoring students and seeing them thrive. She focuses on high quality teaching and learning through research-informed practices and delivering outstanding service to diverse student groups in higher education.

Sophie Leslie

Sophie Leslie

Regulations, Quality & Standards Manager, Swansea University

Sophie Leslie is a Regulations, Quality and Standards Manager and is a Senior Fellow of the HEA. Her work examines quality enhancement within the university, with key knowledge of student feedback and student experience. Sophie is responsible for the development, implementation and on-going operational management of all aspects of regulations, quality assurance and enhancement. As well as ensuring appropriate external expectations and standards are maintained across the University.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Development, implementation and on-going operational management of regulations, quality assurance and quality enhancement
  • Promotion of enhancement opportunities aligned to relevant University strategies through quality assurance processes
  • Engagement with sector and external drivers including QAA and Quality Enhancement Review and embedding sector best practice within the institution

Sophie’s previous work has encapsulated data-driven enhancement, retention and progression, education for sustainable development and employability.  Sophie has been able to bring these areas of expertise together to support quality assurance and enhancement, as well as supporting staff across the institution with guidance, advice and mentoring. 

Jonathon Thomas

Jonathon Thomas

Associate Director: Learning Design and Production

Jonathon has over twenty years of experience of learning technology and online learning. He currently leads a team of education professionals within University of London. This team consists of learning designers, learning technologists, academic editors and video/media developers. Jonathon and his team have recently supported the development of over fifteen online degrees with the University of London.

As well as being an experienced learning professional, Jonathon has previously been responsible for the successful development and implementation of various IT services with University of London including enterprise Portal and Identity and Access Management.

Jonathon has an MA, Open and Distance Education from the Open University.

Alessia Photo

Alessia Gagliardi

Student in History of Art and Visual Culture and Comparative Literature and Culture, Royal Holloway University of London

Alessia is a final-year student in History of Art and Visual Culture and Comparative Literature and Culture at Royal Holloway University of London. After being awarded ‘Best 1 Year Student of CLC Department’ she started to work as Student Ambassador, being involved in research-projects leading for Student Engagement and Access and Participation Plan. She has just been promoted to Senior Ambassador, allowing her to keep being actively involved in the community.

Gill Knight Photo

Professor Gill Knight

Professor in STEM Education and Director of Education, Royal Holloway University of London

Professor Gill Knight, is a Professor in STEM Education and Director of Education at Royal Holloway University of London. Gill has a Bioscientist background, however her career with Higher Education has mainly been focused on leadership of education at a Departmental, Faculty and now Institutional level. Gill’s education focus has been on designing and delivering inclusive education and was awarded a National Teaching Fellow in 2021 in recognition of her commitment to inclusive STEM education. She is currently Royal Holloway’s lead for their Access and Participation Plan. Gill is also a principal fellow of the HEA and undertakes pedagogic research in inclusive education.

Poorna Gunasekara Photo

Poorna Gunasekera

Associate Dean (International) of the Faculty of Health, University of Plymouth

Poorna Gunasekera, originating from Sri Lanka, practised clinical ophthalmology before moving to Higher Education in 2005. He currently serves as the Associate Dean (International) of the Faculty of Health at the University of Plymouth and as an Associate Professor of the Peninsula Medical School. He has a strong commitment to Global Health, which he believes can be best achieved by empowering individuals and communities to use their innate skills and knowledge effectively within local systems.

The roundtable discussion will explore the pros and cons of facilitating student-led sustainable community engagement strategies, as a proactive measure to fight social isolation and address the root causes of hate crime. Using the experiences gained through ‘Global Plymouth’ (, a social integration platform with almost 1100 signed up members who have hosted over 150 ‘events’ as a case study, the discussion will aim to create a wider network dedicated to safe and sustainable student-led community engagement contributing to Local Regeneration and Knowledge Exchange.

Louise Taylor

Louise Taylor

Learning developer

Louise studied documentary photography in South Wales and UAL, and Academic Practice at UAL. As a learning developer, she focuses on the intersection of education and social justice, university transition and peer learning. Additionally, she has an interest in visual and participatory research methodologies, with a particular focus on photography.

Christie Johnson

Christie Johnson

Head of Academic Support at London College of Communication

Christie Johnson studied at Shahid Ashrafi Esfahani University and the Universities of Cambridge and London. Christie taught at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, as well as the Institute of Ismaili Studies as the programme leader for the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities before becoming Head of Academic Support at London College of Communication

Sean o'Reilly square

Sean O’Reilly

Academic Affairs and Data, Technological Higher Education Association

Sean O’Reilly has worked with the national representative association for Ireland’s technological higher education sector since 2012 in a number of roles supporting the rapidly evolving Technological Higher Education sector in strategic, data-driven decision-making, change management and quality enhancement. Initially, Sean managed the development and implementation of the Irish Survey of Student Engagement. In his current role, Sean works particularly with Registrars / Vice-Presidents of Academic Affairs, but also other key networks, and represents member institutions on several national groups. He is also a member of the Programme Steering Board for a major national programme transforming learning, developing staff capabilities, and enhancing the digital ecosystem across seven partner technological higher education institutions.

Sally Andrews

Sally Andrews

Kate Cuthbert

Kate Cuthbert

Sally Andrews & Kate Cuthbert

Pedagogic Projects Development Managers, Staffordshire Centre of Learning and Pedagogic Practice at Staffordshire University.

Dr Sally Andrews and Dr Kate Cuthbert are Pedagogic Projects Development Managers within the Staffordshire Centre of Learning and Pedagogic Practice at Staffordshire University. A role which combines conducting research and evaluation, supporting evidence-based decision making in HE, being an academic activist, and supporting the development of others’ research and evaluation in higher education practices.

Dr Andrews has lectured in Psychology, had academic leadership of activities to reduce inequalities in higher education, and supported the development of colleagues’ scholarship in teaching and learning. Her primary interest is around how higher education providers support students from diverse, non-traditional, and minoritised backgrounds in higher education, within the socio-cultural and political worlds in which we live. Sally is passionate about understanding what, when, and how different approaches in learning and teaching are effective in supporting students from diverse backgrounds to succeed in higher education and beyond. Given the evidenced inequity for such students, she seeks to develop and use evidence on the efficacy of praxis to drive policy and practice across the sector. Sally is a strong advocate for mixed methods approaches and have considerable expertise in using quantitative and qualitative data to conduct robust evidence-based research and evaluations.

Dr Kate Cuthbert (PFHEA) began her career in health research, completing a PhD exploring health beliefs in 8 CIS-nations. Later, as the Interprofessional Learning lead at the University of Derby she introduced service improvement experiences into 4 curricula and was seconded to the NHS Institute of Innovation and Improvement contributing to national programmes for patient safety learning. At the Higher Education Academy, she developed a national portfolio of educational consultancy and internationally with educators in Bahrain.

Having led the professional recognition scheme at Nottingham Trent University for 5 years she joined SCoLPP in October 2022. Over the last year she has provided co-leadership to a QAA-funded project, exploring the value and implications of embedding Phenomenon-based learning into higher education. Kate was also a member of the project team, funded by TASO to develop a typology, and an understanding of the current and potential landscape in achieving racial equality in UK Higher Education. Kate has also been commissioned by AdvanceHE to curate institutional case studies to understand a range of techniques, approaches and lessons learned from current work about student outcomes interventions that are driven by or largely feature ‘third space’ colleagues supporting activities outside the classroom.

Emily Chapman

Emily Chapman

Student Engagement Officer (Student Voice) at SOAS, University of London

Emily is the Student Engagement Officer (Student Voice) at SOAS, University of London, overseeing the process and runnings of Surveys and Student Voice. Her Background is both in HE and FE, and she has been involved in Student Politics and Engagement since 2014. She is the former Vice President (Further Education) 17/19 for NUS UK and Leeds City College Students’ Union President and Student Elected Governor 15/17, creating a key focus on the voices of students and enhancing the student experience.

Student Engagement Conference

Thursday 19th October, University of London