A Guide for Members of Governing Bodies – Student Outcomes

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Sustainability plays a key role in attracting students from around the world. Research by the National Union of Students (NUS) on attitudes towards sustainable development consistently shows that international students believe sustainability should be actively incorporated and promoted by universities. (12) 

Socially responsible and sustainable institutions take a long-term view of their relationships with students before, during and after their time at university – which helps to improve student access, retention, performance and employability.

Institutions embracing strategic sustainability create more socially aware, sustainability-driven graduates with the practical, intellectual and resiliency skills needed to succeed in the modern workforce and beyond.

Sustainability contributes to the student experience by enabling students to have a positive impact in their community through volunteering and work-placements, through internships offering their services - such as in local law clinics, community dentistry and health practices - supporting local schools and sports clubs and so on.

Sustainability improves employability and employment outcomes by broadening student perspectives, encouraging them to take a longterm view and teaching them how to work creatively to solve complex problems. Cross-disciplinary teaching and research associated with sustainability enables students to develop these attributes, together with applied learning from Living Lab projects (13) (which allow students to understand and find solutions to problems in a real-world context).

As such, sustainability makes an important contribution to the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) in the UK and to Outcome Agreements in Scotland. It also enhances relationships with key employers as they look to build partnerships with institutions that produce well-rounded graduates who can work and think creatively.

(12) NUS (2018) Sustainability Skills 2016-17: Research into students’ experiences of teaching and learning on sustainable development: bit.ly/2pL9uCu
(13) EAUC Living Labs Programme: www.eauc.org.uk/launch_of_eauc_living_lab_programme

Questions a governor might explore:

University of Plymouth – A well rounded approach to dentistry

Dentistry is a unique multi-skilled profession, with business acumen and sound social skills required on top of clinical care. The University of Plymouth has designed a curriculum with these aspects in mind and, since its first graduates in 2011, over 90% of students have gone straight into employment each year. It was top in the 2018 UK National Student Survey, with 100% of students satisfied with its teaching. Through the work of the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise, students benefit from early clinical exposure in areas of high deprivation. In doing so, students acquire a better understanding of who they will encounter when qualified. (14)

(14) The Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise
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