Sheffield Hallam University Evaluation Repository

A process and impact evaluation of the PGCert and MA Student Engagement in Higher Education programme

DONNELLY, Alan and AUSTEN, Liz (2022). A process and impact evaluation of the PGCert and MA Student Engagement in Higher Education programme. [STEER Evaluation Collection]

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This executive summary provides a brief overview of a project which evaluated the processes and impact of the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) and Master’s (MA) in Student Engagement in Higher Education at the University of Winchester. The postgraduate programme of study focuses on student engagement practices, policies and partnerships in UK Higher Education (HE) and it was created in 2018 to address a lack of professional development opportunities for practitioners who are responsible for engaging with students in HE. A Theory of Change approach was adopted to structure the evaluation, which aimed to understand ‘how much’ and ‘how and why’ change had occurred on the course since its inception. A mixed-methods post-test design was used. An Advisory Group of practitioners, who were either studying on the course or had graduated, were recruited to: co-create the Theory of Change and determine their own definitions of ‘success’; design the methods of data gathering; and reflect on emerging findings. Evidence of impact was collated from practitioners studying on the course, graduates and staff on the course via peer-led interviews, online reflective activities and other sources of evidence. The evaluation findings highlighted that the programme had a positive impact on practitioners while studying on and after completing the course across several areas, for example, within their knowledge, skills and practices, confidence in academic spaces, networks, career progression and personal success. Impact was also reported within practitioners’ organisations of employment, such as changes in culture around student engagement. The blended delivery of the PGCert and MA enabled individuals to study on the course alongside their professional roles and the effectiveness of these processes facilitated the impact outcomes. The evaluation demonstrated the potential of using a Theory of Change approach to structure the planning and design of evaluations of a HE programme of study, particularly for extending exploration of impact beyond traditional measures of course evaluation.

Item Type: STEER Evaluation Collection
Type of evaluation evidence: Empirical: Evidence has been collected which reports that there have been changes in outcomes for those receiving an intervention.
Stage of the Student Lifecycle:
Stage of the Student Lifecycle
Success (e.g. retention and attainment)
Departments, Directorates and Groups: Groups and Services > Student Experience, Teaching and Learning
Uncontrolled Keywords: Student engagement, practitioners, impact, evaluation, process, mixed-methods, theory of change, participatory, blended delivery
Depositing User: Ashleigh Weir
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2022 13:30
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2023 16:56

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