The University of Winchester is leading the way in the field of Student Engagement in Higher Education.

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About us

The Centre for Student Engagement provides services for and research into the field of Student Engagement in Higher Education, in which the University of Winchester is leading the sector and international practice.

Student Engagement has come to mean many things to many people and institutions. It has been linked to student participation, involvement, commitment, effort and motivation; to Student Unions and to academic study; to developing new relationships between staff and students. Student Engagement is a growing academic discipline relating to practices such as student engagement in university processes such a: student representation, student voice, co-design, students as partners and peer support, and research areas such as students’ sense of belonging, student development and enhancing students’ experiences.

This centre is therefore dedicated to helping to improve and facilitate good practice to ensure a better experience for students studying at the University of Winchester, and to be able to share this practice across Higher Education Institutions nationally and internationally.

Who we are and what we do

Meet the team

Core Team

Tom Lowe, Centre for Student Engagement Manager and Acting Head of Careers

Main research interests:

  • Practicalities of student engagement schemes in Higher Education
  • Student development in Higher Education
  • Facilitating a sense of belonging in Higher Education

Find out more about Tom

Maisha Islam, Centre for Student Engagement Administrator

Main research interests:

  • BAME and Religious Student Experience
  • Sense of Belonging in Higher Education
  • Inclusive Student Engagement Practice

Email Maisha

Visiting Fellows

Dr Catherine Bovill, Senior Lecturer in Student Engagement, University of Edinburgh

Prof Colin Bryson, Director of Combined Honours Centre, Newcastle University


Sam Jenkins, Third-year History student

Main research interests:

  • Student engagement in volunteering and fundraising
  • Student engagement in social action and participation 
  • Student engagement in digital and employability skill development

Email Sam

Savannah King, Acting Head of Communications

Main research interests:

  • Experiences of international students and alumni
  • Partnership – between students and institution, alumni and institution and students and alumni
  • The role of communications in student engagement, satisfaction, attainment, retention and pride

Email Savannah

Maria Moxey, PhD student

Main research interests:

  • The value of sport as a form of student engagement at University
  • Sport, identity & a sense of belonging
  • Subcultural sport & gender identity

Email Maria

Cassie Lowe, Learning and Teaching Enhancement Officer

Main research interests:

  • Undergraduate Research
  • Students as Partners
  • Student Voice

Find out more about Cassie

Tiffany Burnett, Student Engagement Manager at Winchester Student Union

Main research interests:

  • Student engagement beyond the curriculum
  • Student voice in democracy and representation
  • Student Union engagement with underrepresented student groups

Email Tiffany

Shelley Hitchin, Faculty Employability Advisor (Arts)

Main research interests:

  • Student Engagement in higher education - approaches and practices
  • Careers and employability (learning and teaching, collaboration and partnership)
  • Creativity and digital skills

Email Shelley

Steve Hallett, Single Use Plastic Engagement and Mapping Coordinator

Main research interests:

  • Environmental Sustainability/Climate Crisis
  • Student Engagement in Sustainability
  • Philosophy of Politics and Ecology            

Email Steve

Charlotte Purkis, Programme Leader Postgraduate Certificate in Research Skills/Principal Lecturer

Main research interests:

  • Auto-ethnography and the student voice shaping the future of the creative arts disciplines
  • How students can learn to teach themselves
  • Student participation as classroom leaders

Find out more about Charlotte

Maise James, Health & Safety Administrative Assistant

Main research interests:

  • Somatic Movement Therapy
  • Integration of somatic practice into higher dance education
  • Body philosophy and discourse

Email Maisie

Dr Craig Johnston, Senior Lecturer

Main research interests:

  • Working-class students' negotiations of education
  • Youth exclusion and marginalisation
  • Improving student engagement

Find out more about Craig

Masters in Student Engagement in Higher Education

The Student Engagement in Higher Education course offers an opportunity to learn from sector experts from Winchester’s world leading practice and recently established Centre for Student Engagement with internally recognised Visiting Fellows. Students are provided with the opportunity to develop an applicable knowledge and critical understanding of theory and practice surrounding Student Engagement to be equipped to become a more applicable practitioner in diverse settings.

Find out more about the Masters in Student Engagement in Higher Education course here

The ‘Get Involved’ Project: a signposting service for student opportunities

The ‘Get Involved’ signposting service brings together all of the opportunities available to students at Winchester in a single accessible platform. With over 140 opportunities to dive into, this online service provides students with a ‘one-stop-shop’ to explore sports teams, extra-curricular activities and campus employment by browsing at leisure to increase accessibility for students at Winchester.

To find out more about student opportunities available at Winchester, you can browse through the Get Involved list.

REACT (Realising Engagement through Active Culture Transformation)

The REACT programme was a £304,000 catalyst-funded project from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) designed to make a significant impact on student engagement and the student experience in the Higher Education (HE) sector in England and Wales over a two-year period, from July 2015 to July 2017. The focus was on the engagement of so-called ‘hard to reach’ students.

The programme comprised:

  • Investigation into the term ‘hard to reach’ and a consideration of which students are characterised in this way;
  • A formal research project looking at links between student engagement, retention and attainment;
  • A development programme as a collaboration between fifteen UK universities.

For more information, visit the REACT website.


Research into Muslim students' engagement in Higher Education

This research project was conducted by the Centre for Student Engagement in partnership with Dr Gary Jones, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, to expand the institutional understanding and knowledge surrounding sense of belonging and student experiences of Muslim students at Winchester. The number of Muslim students entering Higher Education is slowly rising, with the University of Winchester following this trend. Currently, there are an estimated 330,000 Muslim students in HE and FE in the UK; this number is expected to grow, especially in terms of young Muslim women.

Little is known about Muslim students’ HE experiences, with limited published reports surrounding religious student groups and wider BAME research identifying that universities are still struggling to identify tangible steps to enhance BAME attainment and retention. The Centre for Student Engagement interviewed 20% of Winchester’s Muslim student population to investigate their sense of belonging, and beyond curriculum engagement with wider activities at the institution. A follow up research project is also underway to capture Muslim student voices beyond Winchester.

For more information on this study, you can read the published paper here or email Maisha Islam for more updates on the project.

Generation Z in Higher Education Conference 2020

It is with regret that we announce the postponement of the Generation Z in Higher Education Conference which was scheduled to take place on Wednesday 1 July 2020 at the University of Winchester. As you are probably aware, the current COVID-19 outbreak has created deep uncertainty of how viable it is run any future event for at least the next six months.

Nevertheless, we still intend to run this conference and have therefore decided to reschedule the event to take place on Wednesday 9 June 2021 in Winchester.

We hope that you will consider saving this new date and that you will join us at the University of Winchester in the coming year. We will send out further communications closer to this date too.

Many thanks and stay safe,
The Generation Z in Higher Education Conference Committee team.

The Generation Z in Higher Education Conference is set for Wednesday 9 June 2021 and is for practitioners and students interested in learning all about the new generation of students entering Higher Education.

The overarching purpose of the conference will be to contextualise Generation Z students’ educational journeys and synthesise the array of research, practice and considerations about these students so that we may appropriately cater to their needs.

We hope to welcome a broad array of students and staff working in any relevant area of Higher and Further Education to share their research, experience and practice through four unique session formats and relate them to our four conference themes.

Our conference themes are:

Theme 1 – The Educational Learner Journey of Generation Z (pre HE)

Theme 2 – Pedagogical Practice for and with Generation Z

Theme 3 – Understanding Generation Z: Beliefs, Motivations and Student Diversity

Theme 4 – Careers and Future Aspirations of Generation Z

Want to submit a proposal to present? Read the Information for Presenters section to find out more about the conference themes and session formats.

Information for Presenters

We welcome proposals to present at the Generation Z in Higher Education Conference from a diversity of staff and students working with or in Higher and Further Education.

This conference aims to be innovative by hosting the following session formats:

  • Campfire sessions
  • PechaKucha
  • Workshops
  • Storytelling sessions

Please ensure that your proposal links to one of the conference themes. Read the Conference Themes and Session Formats

Note for presenters:

All sessions will take place in classroom-style rooms which will be equipped with a PC and projector. Should you present at the conference, it will be your responsibility to manage the delivery of your presentation (e.g. if you have specific handouts). If you are using a PowerPoint presentation for example, please bring this loaded on a memory stick or accessible to download online. Should you need resources such as Flipchart paper, pens or Sticky Notes, please detail this in the proposal form – we hope to ensure that these resources will be made available in every room.

Submit your proposal.

Key Dates

  • Call for papers open – 27 November 2019
  • Submission for papers closes – 29 January 2020
  • Decision to authors – 2 March 2020
  • Conference registration opens – tbc
  • Conference registration closes – tbc
  • Conference – 9 June 2021

Submit your proposal

You’ve read the conference themes and session formats (which you can also find in Conference Themes and Session Formats), now you’re ready to submit a proposal.

Please work through the proposal form to submit your proposal.


Conference fees (*please note that these prices are subject to change):

Staff delegate rate - £70

Student delegate rate - £30

Registration is currently paused.

Please note that these rates are inclusive of refreshments upon arrival, mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshments as well as a buffet lunch.

Please be sure to list any dietary requirements in your booking form.



We are pleased to announce our confirmed keynote speakers for the conference:

Opening Keynote – C(ompassion) O(riginality) R(esponsibility) E(mpathy) Skills for ALL Students.
Scott Hayden – Creative Media Lecturer/Digital Innovation Specialist (Basingstoke college of technology)
Sky Caves – Learning Technologist (Basingstoke College of Technology)

Closing Keynote – Representing Generation Z in Higher Education.
Megan Ball – President (Winchester Student Union)
Victoria Hurley – Vice-President, Education and Welfare (Winchester Student Union)
Ellen O’Dwyer – Vice-President, Activities (Winchester Student Union)