For over a year, universities have worked against the odds to keep students on track during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been gruelling, but also, often, inspiring, with deep collaboration and innovation in evidence across the sector. But over the last few months it has become increasingly clear that while there is concerted government support for schools and children, universities are expected to do this largely themselves.
We don’t comment on whether that’s the right or wrong approach. And given the autonomous nature of the sector, government will (rightly) be less directly involved in shaping the university student experience. Nevertheless, the UPP Foundation felt there was a gap in bringing together insights, ideas and suggestions from across the entire higher education sector to help students secure their successful futures – and to help universities support each other as well.
The Commission was conceived following a conversation with our partners Wonkhe to address this perceived gap, and since then we have been putting in place the infrastructure for the Commission. We’d like to place on record our huge thanks to the partners – GTI, Shakespeare Martineau and Wonkhe – who have helped get this off the ground, Public First for their servicing of the Commission, all of our Commissioners who are taking time out of their busy schedules to provide their expertise and the Commission’s Chair, Mary Curnock Cook for proving the Commission’s leadership.
The UPP Foundation is a charity which tackles the biggest issues in the higher education sector through funding innivative pilot projects, and collaborative thought leadership.
The Commission has brought together a group from across the higher education sector, students and students’ unions, experts from secondary education, graduate employment and representatives from the charity and voluntary sector. The Commission is led by former Chief Executive of UCAS, Mary Curnock Cook CBE.
The UPP Foundation Student Futures Commission will seek to discover approaches that will help get students’ success back on track from September 2021.
Whilst there is no formal time period under consideration by the Commission, it is expected that the focus will be on events in the short term (which is defined here as actions for the 2021-2022 academic year), and into the medium term (which is defined here as actions principally acting over the next 4-5 academic years).
We’ll be gathering evidence from across the sector on three main themes:
The full terms of reference for the commission can be read here
The Commission will be publishing its findings on an iterative basis throughout the Summer, including preliminary findings, written and oral evidence sessions, and blog posts from our Commissioners. As part of this Commission we want to begin to share over the summer practical examples and recommendations on how universities are and should be preparing for the return of all students to campus in the Autumn. We also hope to look longer term at some of the key challenges facing the sector now and into the future, concluding with a final report by December 2021.
We have launched a written call for evidence, which you can answer as much or as little of as you best see fit. We will also be hosting a number of public oral evidence sessions over the next few months. We also want to hear from anyone who would like to contribute more informally to our work. You can contact the Commission at anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome responses from higher education institutions, organisations working in the higher education sector as well as students, student bodies and other stakeholders. Given the breadth of the challenge and opportunity, we welcome different organisations approaching the Commission from their particular perspective.
A platform which supports students with self-discovery, career guidance, skills and finding roles. Helping employers reach and hire. Enabling universities to deliver world-class careers and student services. GTI was founded by its Chairmain Mark Blythe
full service law firm, which provides legal services to businesses, organisations, government departments, families and people throughout life and in business. Shakespeare Martineau has a specialist education practice, which is led by Smita Jamdar.
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