The Student Experience Practitioner Model
Student success and completion is important for the student and the institution both in terms of reputation and finances. The aim is for the student to have the best possible experience at university and for the institution to experience low withdrawal and high completion rates in all the different study modes. In order to achieve this, it is important that as Noel and Levitz (in Low, 2002) state, ‘retention is not a goal, retention is the result of high quality learning and professional development experiences on campus’. As the cost of higher education increases for both student and institution, it is understandable that there is a high expectation by students to receive value for money. As Eastwood argues, ‘if we are expecting students to pay high fees, they will expect higher quality not lower’ (Eastwood, 2010). As a result, ‘the growing trends of customer sovereignty and increased education on student rights and entitlements means that they [the institutions] need to know what their “customers” want and need’ (Church, 2001). Providing a quality experience is also the correct and professional thing to do. The challenges faced by practitioners will be driven by the needs of their particular student body. Understanding their student body and the services they need, and managing the processes that identify and deliver those services at key times, will enable the practitioner to deliver an enhanced quality student experience. As stated earlier, there are three very important aspects which are critical in understanding the desired outcomes and delivering a high-quality and holistic student experience. They are:
• supporting students through every stage of their academic and personal journey at university;
• identifying the key services students need to succeed at university whether they are academic-, welfare-or support-based;
• combining the two aspects above.