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QAA Scotland’s 4th international enhancement conference will take place on 3 and 4 June 2020, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow’s city centre.

We will welcome 450 delegates from around the world, with the common goal of enhancing higher education strategy, policy and practice. The 2020 conference will centre on four key questions:

  1. How can we use evidence to support decision-making?
  2. What counts as valid evidence?
  3. How can we ensure we are working in partnership with students?
  4. How can we ensure that we are using evidence ethically?

Conference strands

Plenary sessions, papers and workshops will allow delegates to explore five key conference strands:

Contributors are invited to:

  • share practice that has a focus on student demographics, recognising trends in student populations by study mode or student characteristic. These trends might relate to institutional strategy, wider context (such as Brexit), or curricular changes (such as graduate apprenticeships). How can information about the composition of the student population be used to identify, prioritise and evaluate enhancements to learning and teaching and the wider student experience? How can we use data to promote equality and diversity practice?
  • explore approaches to improving student achievement, progress and retention. Are we using evidence in the best way to support student success? What does our use of evidence allow us to understand about effective approaches to enabling student articulation, transition and mobility? Do we have the right evidence to support practice aimed at understanding and improving retention and progression?
  • consider the role of key staff and students in improving student achievement, progression and retention, for example programme leaders, professional support staff and peer mentors - how can evidence (quantitative and qualitative) be used to support and understand the impact of these key roles?
  • share imaginative ways of engaging students in the use of evidence to support understanding demographics and improving retention, progression and success.

Contributors are invited to:

  • share approaches to building institutional capabilities and capacity around data and decision-making. How do these approaches support more timely, effective and bolder decision-making? How is data that is gathered across an institution (for example, estate, student records systems, library, virtual learning environment etc) used to support decisions to enhance the student experience?
  • explore the use of learning analytics. How are learning analytics helping us gain insight into more effective curriculum design and delivery? How is the use of learning analytics impacting on roles, systems and processes for student support? What are we learning about the ethical dimensions of working with big data and learning analytics to improve the student experience?
  • consider how data-driven approaches are affecting students and the student experience. Are students engaged as active partners in the use of big data, rather than passive subjects? How is technology being employed to monitor and respond effectively to student voices? How are we engaging students in learner dashboard design and use? How can data be used to better support the development of students’ digital skills?

Contributors are invited to:

  • share approaches to developing and using evidence that helps us to articulate what really matters about higher education. What counts as valid evidence? Beyond metrics and league tables, how can we identify and enhance the value of higher education in ways that are clear to policymakers and funders?
  • share institutional approaches to developing and using qualitative evidence. What are the benefits and challenges associated with using qualitative evidence? How can we use qualitative approaches to support decision-making, or to target and evaluate interventions aimed at improving learning and teaching?
  • consider how institutions use evidence in effecting change. How do we make sense of evidence from different systems and processes that may be conflicting? How is evidence used to make improvements to strategic decision-making and the development of policy? What sources of data are being used in designing, implementing and evaluating enhancement-focused activities?
  • share what support is available to help staff and students extend their expertise in qualitative and mixed-method approaches. What measures are being taken to support staff to use a wide range of sources of evidence, indicators of success, and outcomes in evaluating enhancement activities? How is technology being used to facilitate upskilling in these areas?

Contributors are invited to:

  • explore the training and support offered to staff and students to help them develop the skills they need to interpret and use data to enhance teaching and learning and the broader student experience. What approaches have been used to demonstrate the impact of these changes?
  • share approaches that encourage staff and students to engage with evidence. How are we assisting academic and professional services staff to access evidence faster and more effectively, providing them with appropriate information to support students? How do we help staff and students to identify priorities among a diverse student voice? What support is in place to help staff and students use evidence-informed insights responsibly and ethically?
  • consider how an increasing focus on wellbeing is influencing, and being influenced by, the use of evidence. How is disclosure and information-sharing by students and staff encouraged? How is evidence used to design, implement and evaluate student wellbeing interventions? More broadly, how is evidence used in the development of effective academic communities of practice and approaches to support a sense of student and staff belonging? What roles do students’ associations have in developing strategies to support student wellbeing and establishing communities of practice?

Contributors are invited to:

  • explore current and future demands of graduates. How do we use evidence to provide graduates with the skills they require to live, work and succeed in a global society and workplace? How will data and evidence be used to support students in developing and articulating the ‘meta-skills’ necessary to exploit new technologies and opportunities? In what ways are we ensuring graduates across all disciplines are equipped for the future?
  • share approaches to different aspects of skills development within the curriculum, including approaches to employer engagement, managing placements and work-based learning opportunities. How are skills, including digital skills, embedded inside and outside the curriculum? How are students encouraged to engage, self-reflect and develop a love of learning? To what extent are research-teaching linkages used as a way of improving the development of graduate attributes?
  • explore models of providing careers advice to students and graduates, including approaches to early career researcher development. How might graduate outcomes data be used to inform student pathways and the learner journey?

Do you have good practice to share on any of the key strands above? Have you been undertaking work linked to the current Enhancement Theme? Whether it’s strategy, policy or practice-based, we encourage you to submit a proposal for a parallel session to share your work. These sessions will allow you to share the positive impact of your practice and engage in discussion about its wider application both within your institution and more.

With the current Enhancement Theme coming to a close, now is the time to celebrate what we’ve achieved in the last three years and consider how we can work together to ensure that the lessons we’ve learned are translated into good practice.

Who should attend?

The conference will be of interest to colleagues working within higher education including:

  • institutional policy decision makers​
  • higher education leaders
  • heads of quality​
  • planners, strategists and data practitioners​
  • academics, practitioners and professional service staff​
  • students, student representatives and students’ association staff​, and
  • representatives from national and international quality assurance agencies.

To learn more about what you can look forward to when you join us in June 2020, watch our highlights video from QAA Scotland’s 3rd international enhancement conference.

Registration for the conference will open in February 2020.

Call for proposals is now open

Do you have good practice to share? We will consider all proposals that address at least one of the conference strands and outline the impact the work has had on enhancing the student experience.

We would encourage colleagues who have been involved with the Enhancement Themes to share their work. We would also value contributions that provide delegates with the opportunity to hear about work from outside the Scottish sector. Proposals from students would be particularly welcome.

Four presentation types will be offered in the parallel session programme:

  1. Paper Presentations
  2. Lightning Talks
  3. Interactive workshop sessions
  4. ‘In Conversation’ sessions.

Proposal submission guide

For all the detailed information you need to submit a proposal see our guide. Please consult this guide before using the online submission process. This will ensure you have all the required information needed to complete the online form.

All ready with your proposal?

Please use our online submission process and ensure it reaches us no later the 25 October 2019.

All proposals will be peer-reviewed, and selected on the basis of providing a relevant, engaging and varied programme for the conference. Sessions will be confirmed in January 2020.