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Education and students sub-strategy

Our ambition

Cardiff University is committed to ensuring an educationally outstanding and consistently high-quality student experience, driven by creativity and curiosity, with excellent teaching and services to enhance learning, and support student life. We continue to attract well-qualified and highly motivated undergraduate, postgraduate taught and research students, supporting all students to fulfil their potential.

Giving greater priority to high-quality blended approaches to learning and teaching, we will build on our successful programmes to engage students in our research, innovation and engagement activities. Our students will benefit from and contribute to our research-rich learning environment and become part of our global alumni community.

We will build on our strong track record in widening participation to ensure we promote higher education for the benefit of all. We will work in partnership with our students to take them on an inspiring educational journey that will enrich their lives, preparing them for leadership and the world of work, and enable them to participate fully in society.

Underpinning objectives

We will be known as a University:

  • where student experience is at the heart of our educational decision-making, and we work in partnership with students and the Students’ Union to bring about enhancements in learning and teaching
  • where there is a dynamic and creative relationship between our research and our teaching, through which our students engage with real-world challenges, research agendas and professional practice
  • which challenges, stretches and supports all our students to do the best they can
  • which encourages high levels of student engagement, and that listens to our students, responding to their needs and expectations, and providing them with opportunities to shape their education and the wider student experience
  • where teaching commitment and excellence are consistently supported, valued and rewarded
  • which invests in high-quality facilities and infrastructure to underpin outstanding learning, teaching and the student experience
  • where we welcome students from across the globe, and from all backgrounds, supporting them to enjoy and benefit from a rewarding university education
  • where we work in partnership with staff in Schools, Colleges, professional services to deliver transformation change of the student experience
  • which is proud to be a Welsh university, providing all our students with opportunities to engage with Welsh culture and language
  • where our committed alumni community offers enrichment and support to our students and to each other
  • which values, promotes and embeds sustainability in education, enabling students and staff to make positive changes to our environment.

Making this happen

This refreshed strategy will form the basis of a Student Success Plan, a three-year change programme focusing on the delivery of enhancements to the student experience. Working in collaborative partnership with our students, alumni and staff across Schools, College and Professional Services, we will deliver deliberate and strategic initiatives to improve the quality of learning, teaching and the student experience.

This sub-strategy will sit alongside the other Way Forward sub-strategies, and with enabling strategies such as those on Widening Participation and Welsh Language.  Together they will enable the University to meet the Critical Success Factors set out in the Recast Way Forward July 2020. In particular, Student Satisfaction and Student Experience.

A Student Communication Plan will ensure our students are informed of the change our strategy will bring, how students can be part of this, what has changed, as a result of student feedback.

A set of graduate attributes and principles on programme structure, design and delivery will underpin our strategy to provide a framework for developing our graduates to have the skills and attributes to become social, economic, global citizens.

Aligned with our University People Strategy we will support our staff in delivering our strategic objectives and our revised governance of Education and Student Experience will enhance our channels of communication, reporting and responsibility and will support engagement of our academic and professional services communities.

Creating an inclusive learning community

We will:

  • As part of our Widening Participation Strategy, ensure that all students regardless of their background or personal experience, be inspired to consider higher education as an achievable option, and can study, succeed and thrive at Cardiff University.
  • Conduct an analysis of student retention, and focus resources on enabling student transition, belonging and retention.
  • Finalise and implement our University black, Asian and minority ethnic Awarding Gap Action Plan with the aim of eradicating of the black, Asian and minority ethnic attainment gap.
  • Use the curriculum to promote inclusion, equality and diversity.
  • Further develop sustainable Welsh Medium provision, working closely with Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, and focused on areas of strategic importance for the Welsh economy, thereby preparing highly skilled graduates with the ability to contribute bilingually to Welsh economic, social and cultural life.
  • Pilot and evaluate a Learning Analytics dashboard, supporting Personal Tutors and Programme Teams to engage our students in meaningful dialogue about their learning, including providing regular, timely and accessible feedback to inform academic progress.
  • Scope out and implement a Partnership project on Learning Community that supports our academic units to build a strong sense of community for both staff and students.

Enhancing the learning environment

We will:

  • Commit to the creative use of digital technologies and wider digital environment to ensure it meets the present and future learning and teaching needs of our students and staff whether online, blended or on-campus.
  • Provide students and staff with the support and guidance required to make confident and effective use of all systems and software used in learning and teaching.
  • Increase our capacity to develop, curate and support high-quality digital resources to support active learning.
  • Embed consideration of the ethical and accessibility implications of all technology used in learning and teaching.
  • Continue the programme of transformation of our physical learning, teaching and study spaces, ensuring they are equipped with appropriate technology, flexible, and comfortable to better support independent, creative and collaborative learning.
  • Enable all our students to engage with our excellent research culture, extending our research opportunities programme so that they have the chance to develop their knowledge and skills through engagement with real-world concerns and contexts.

Planning for successful student futures

We will:

  • Ensure our curriculum provides learning experiences that equip students for whatever path they follow once they graduate, including greater integration and visibility of graduate attributes and employability in all programmes; university-wide courses in a broader range of skills, for example quantitative methods, digital skills and languages.
  • Engage local, national, and international employers and other partners, including our alumni community, in curriculum design and delivery, through an Employer Advisory Board.
  • Source a wide range of domestic and international placement opportunities in all sectors, available in traditional, virtual, and blended formats.  This will include hosting student and graduate placements within the University, expanding our alumni mentoring and placement opportunities, and providing placement opportunities with Welsh SMEs to support the local economy and ensure the retention of graduate skills in Wales.
  • Provide expanded opportunities to develop enterprise skills and entrepreneurship, through business start-ups and innovative projects that use research to spark answers to society’s challenges.
  • Support Colleges in their programme of Academic Renewal to ensure programmes are viable, successful and enhance the student experience.
  • Provide opportunities to explore how the Sustainable Development Goals and the Wales Future Generations legislation relate to learners and the discipline they are studying, as set out in the Environmental Sustainability Enabling Strategy
  • Support students who face barriers in terms of future employability via dedicated careers support, bespoke placement opportunities and bursaries as part of our Widening Participation Strategy.
  • Create opportunities for civic engagement, which enhances Welsh economic, social and cultural life through community placements, collaborations with Creative Cardiff, and connecting with large-scale initiatives like Big Ideas Wales.
  • Expand Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity and broaden our audience by introducing a flexible PGT offering for students to grow skills and widen access to University research expertise, further enhancing our relationships with employers and other partners.

Valuing and promoting teaching excellence

We will:

  • Provide a programme of initial and continuing professional development, for all academic and relevant professional services staff, that supports the improvement and enhancement of leadership, management and delivery of teaching.
  • Support staff who teach and support learning and teaching to work towards internal and external recognition (including promotion, National Teaching Fellowships and Advance HE Recognition).
  • Recognise the important role played by graduate tutors and demonstrators, and support them to develop high-quality teaching practices, and provide structured and well-supported opportunities to be part of our teaching community.
  • Pilot a support programme of continuing professional development for Directors of Learning and Teaching.
  • Review our staff promotion and rewards processes to ensure they fully recognise excellence in both teaching and scholarship.
  • Provide ongoing support across all our schools to enable our staff and students to engage with new and emergent developments in learning, teaching and assessment, including investment in projects which support teaching innovation and promote student engagement in learning, teaching and assessment development.
  • Celebrate teaching excellence, undertaking a campaign of visible promotion of teaching excellence across the campus and on digital media.
  • Develop the current Centre for Education Support and Innovation to be a sector-leading centre for learning and teaching excellence which works in partnership with academic schools and students.
  • Develop our approach to peer review of teaching and learning to help facilitate collegial and reflective development of our learning and teaching practices.

Supporting student life and learning community

We will:

  • Celebrate the opening of the Centre for Student Life at the heart of the campus and its delivery of a step-change in Student Support and Wellbeing for our students, including: increased wellbeing and counselling consultation space better able to meet growing demands; the Futures service giving high profile and ease of access to careers and global opportunity support.
  • Extend Student Connect to be the single gateway for all non-academic student enquiries and utilise enquiry data to prioritise process reviews to achieve enhancements, consistency and efficiency of student experience.
  • Deliver a revised Education Service programme with a focus on assuring professional service resilience to support education delivery during post-COVID recovery.
  • Continue to enhance the range and reach of wellbeing and mental health support through the implementation of the University Mental Health Strategy.
  • Seek to understand the external environment and its impact on students, evaluating and enhancing our existing services and programmes for peer support, mentoring and the Residence Life Programme to support transition, retention and belonging.
  • Implement a sustainable Digital Education Service to provide cross institutional learning technology support.
  • Transform assessment and feedback to delivers constructive and supportive dialogue between students and staff that improves student learning.
  • Expand and enhance the student app.
  • Devise an approach to revalidation for piloting in 2021-22 to ensure that programmes remain attractive to prospective students and continue to meet stakeholder expectations.

Valuing our students as partners

We will:

  • Scope and implement a University-wide student voice framework with a broad, agile and continuous feedback mechanisms to effectively capture the student voice across the diverse experiences of our students, at all levels and across all modes of study.
  • Continue to work in partnership with the Students’ Union to ensure effective and impactful structures for the annual Student View, partnership projects, academic representation, and student involvement in decision-making.
  • Close the feedback loop by letting students know what has happened as a result of their feedback and engagement and how this has informed decision-making.
  • Extend the opportunities through which students can actively contribute to university life and help shape their educational experience, including student-led partnership projects and other student peer schemes.
  • Review the current module evaluation process to ensure effective enhancement of student experience at module level.