Higher Education in Further Education: Preparing a New Campus for Higher Education Delivery
In today's educational landscape, where higher-level courses come with considerable fees, the student experience is crucial to meet their needs. In preparation for a new campus, this project aimed to discover best practices to ensure that college-based higher education (CBHE) is delivered successfully, with unique spaces for higher education (HE) students that are visible enough to inspire future learners. Providing a welcoming environment that allows for collaboration, independent work, and socialisation is essential for the student experience (Höhne and Zander, 2019). This study focused on the potential for further HE growth, in the absence of a higher education institute (HEI) presence in the county, investigating whether such spaces raise the aspirations of the most disadvantaged students (Hinton, 2010).The project was designed within the institution and used mixed-method research as a case-study approach. The study examined existing literature on student expectations, the distinctiveness of CBHE, and how successful implementations have impacted student outcomes. The research questions focused on the blueprint for successful CBHE areas on campus, whether having a HE-specific campus space is attractive to prospective students, the most appropriate approach to designing a HE space for students, and how the experience of HE students differed across sites and curricula.
The key findings suggest that a HE Centre can be considered an essential element of a CBHE experience, and having a new build provides a unique opportunity to ensure that higher education is crucial for a new campus. The student voice should be at the heart of the HE experience and the design of such CBHE spaces. The research has found that there must be recognition from CBHE providers that the learner identities are unique. The study contributes to multiple bodies of knowledge and the implementation of change, with the knowledge and experience gained to be shared through collaborative new ideas.
This project takes a step towards sustainable change and recognition of the importance of CBHE student and their experiences. Therefore, the learner spaces must reflect these characteristics, resulting in a clear strategy among everyone in the institution to support these learners to succeed and progress during their time at the college. Overall, the study highlights the evolving nature of the HE student experience, and the need for institutions to adapt and improve to meet the expectations and aspirations of their students.
- School of Sport and Health Sciences