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Title: A new role for the student funding welfare service within higher education
Author: Sleith, Rosemary
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 3271
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2015
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The retention of students is an important component of any higher education’s business strategy. As a result of Internationalisation, there are new developments in student mobility and willingness to move between countries; host universities have to reconsider how they deliver their services to accommodate these changes. In addition to these transformations in the landscape student retention, personal development planning and employability continue to evolve. Student Services generally are evolving globally (IASAS, 2009) to be aligned with the changes, however, little is known of the changing roles of Student Funding Welfare Services and their potential contribution. Underpinning this research there are theoretical models (Tinto, 1997 and Yorke 2002), as well as, empirical research and studies (Davies and Elias, 2003, Quinn, Thomas, Slack, Casey, Thexton and Noble, 2005). This Study is unique because a Student Funding Welfare Service Practitioner writes it; very little if any research exists from such a contributor. The Study is an Interpretivist, mixed methods based approach carried out by an insider researcher within a post 1992 Scottish University Student Funding Welfare Service. This evaluation of the Service required three questionnaires, eight focus groups and 30 student learner Pen Portraits to gather rich qualitative and quantitative data from two service user groups: student learners and teaching staff. Conclusions were drawn about the contributions being made by the Student Funding Welfare Service in relation to: student retention, personal development planning and employability. Analysis and interpretation concluded that contributions were being made, as illustrated within the Student Funding Welfare Service Contribution Model developed as a result of this Study. This research considers two working environments within one higher education institution by showing ways in which the Student Funding Welfare Service Contribution Model was actively making scholarly contributions; which would work alongside other such practices within the overall university community. Following an analysis of the Services working practices the findings suggest similarities can be drawn between them and Dewey (1998), Connolly (2008), Land (2004) and Kolb (1984). The Study calls for Student Funding Welfare Services to be regulated by the Scottish Standards Money Advice Service to bring them in line with the public sector service deliverers in this field. In addition a suggestion is made for a formal postgraduate Diploma in Money Advice and Welfare Services. Such a qualification would aim to ensure all service delivery staff provide a nationally acceptable high standard and are recognised for their professionalism and expertise. Thirdly, this Study could be generalised to produce training tools for staff development for personal tutors, teaching staff and administrative support staff.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral