I have been in role as PVC Student Experience for two weeks now and in many ways, it is my dream job. This role clearly defines LJMU as the student-focused university we all are proud of and have hopes for.
This dedication towards our students is so strong, it is a core part of our DNA, which was reflected in every consultation we held as we developed our new values. Alongside the importance of inclusivity, caring about our communities, and being courageous in our actions, ensuring that our students are at the heart of everything we do is a powerful commitment to our mission.
The launch of our values and my new role bring a significant opportunity for us to celebrate all that is good within LJMU, and gives us a chance to assess what we need to do differently to continue providing an outstanding student experience.
I firmly believe that every contact with our students counts and every one of us, both academic and professional staff, has a role to play in getting our students to graduation and then into employment or further study.
Which is why I have the wonderful pleasure of inviting you all to attend our first ‘Students at the Heart’ Conference. This year we’re bringing together our Learning and Teaching Conference and Professional Services Conference into one combined event. We will discuss how all of us in the university play an important role in providing an outstanding student experience. We will learn from each other, and make plans for our future. This is an important event in our university calendar and will take place on campus on 15 and 16 June 2022.
Please save the date and watch out for a call for contributions in our weekly staff newsletters. You can contact the conference organising team on: SATHConf22@ljmu.ac.uk
I have worked at LJMU for over 26 years, starting as a lecturer at the IM Marsh Campus and have seen the transformational experiences we all contribute to for our students. On a personal note, education was not always easy for me. At 16 years of age, I failed every one of my GCSEs (other than English!). I stayed on for a further year at school to retake everything – and guess what, I failed everything again. Whilst school can be a wonderful experience, for me it was too restrictive, and I did not feel energised or motivated to learn. It was only when I went to college aged 18 that my passion for learning began.
I had great teachers, stimulating teaching, good facilities, and professional services staff who made me feel welcome, engaged, and motivated. This fired my passion for learning and has culminated in the award of a National Teaching Fellowship and a personal and professional interest in inclusive education. My wish for our students is to offer exceptional experiences that meet the diverse needs of our student body. We must have a seamless approach to our delivery of outstanding teaching, excellent guidance and support services, and a strong social engagement programme, hand in hand with our Student Union (JMSU).
Fulfilling an individual’s potential reaches far beyond the academic curriculum. Without doubt a key task for us is to ensure each and every one of our students receives a high quality, student-centred, and successful education from LJMU. Our students need to also play their part as we co-create positive outcomes for everyone, which is why we will also be including the voice of students in my role, both in the conference and the development of our student experience programmes.
I encourage all of you to join me in attending our ‘Students at the Heart’ Conference. We all play a role in our students’ development, and I hope to see you there and around campus.
If you have any ideas on what we should be doing around our student experience – be courageous and let me know. Stop me and have a chat. I always have time to listen and learn from our LJMU community.
With my very best wishes.
Professor Phil Vickerman
Pro-Vice Chancellor (Student Experience)