CGHE Webinar 257

Student agency in changing UK higher education

Date: Thursday, 9 December 2021 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Zoom webinar
Speaker(s):
  • Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, National Union of Students (NUS)
  • Lauren Bolz, University of Oxford

Event Materials

This event is now archived and we are pleased to provide the following event media and assets, along with the original event overview.

Students’ roles in influencing change within UK universities has long been debated. Nonetheless, students have been—and continue to be—drivers of small and large-scale change and cultural shifts within them. Through protests, campaigns, and everyday conversations, students can create and influence change within university classrooms, institutional governance structures, and national political spheres. From movements surrounding decolonising curricula to widening higher education participation, students often use their agency to shape their educational and political environments.

Like in many other spaces, the pandemic has both changed and highlighted opportunities for and limitations of this student agency in UK universities. This talk will explore how the pandemic has changed the dynamics that shape student agency at both institutional and national levels, and the related barriers to students’ roles in changing higher education within the current UK landscape. Reflecting on their own involvement in student politics, the speakers will also discuss what they learned from the pandemic and beyond regarding the value of centring students in higher education decision-making structures, and the factors that they have found to most influence students’ abilities to create change in institutional and national higher education spaces.

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