Student Experience at Leeds

Professor Charlotte Haigh, Dean for Student Education: Educational Enhancement and Student Experience, outlines why student experience at Leeds is a collective commitment.

Professor Charlotte Haigh

The vibrant Leeds partnership: Uniting students and staff for extraordinary impact 

At the University, we transcend the traditional boundaries of academia. We are a pulsating ecosystem where students and staff converge, creating something truly remarkable. The Leeds Partnership lies at the heart of this synergy – a dynamic pact, a shared understanding between us all and a commitment to elevate our University experience. 

Early in my role, I had the personally rewarding opportunity to participate in a design sprint. Facilitated seamlessly by the Learning Design Agency (LDA), this sprint brought together students, LUU members, and staff from across the University. Our mission being to refresh The Leeds Partnership, making it more relevant and reflective of our diverse community. We seek to ignite new enthusiasm among staff and students, anchoring these principles at the core of the Leeds student experience. 

The first design session yielded exceptional and revolutionary ideas. As we continue this journey, there will be abundant opportunities for engagement in the coming months. Together, we shape the future of Leeds, one vibrant partnership at a time. 

Students as partners: Co-creating knowledge and enriching experiences 

Our students transcend the role of mere learners. They actively weave themselves into a vibrant tapestry of collaboration and growth.  

Beyond attending teaching, they become architects of knowledge, challengers of norms, and champions of inclusivity. Recently, at the Student Education Conference organised by our colleagues in the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE), this ethos came alive.  

The conference spotlighted students engaged in research, and in every session I attended, students stood alongside staff, co-creating and propelling projects forward. This collaborative spirit underscores the richness of our University community. 

Together, we foster an environment where students are true partners in designing their educational experiences. Our goal is to move beyond excellence and become sector leaders in our partnership opportunities that enhance students’ skills and enrich their journey through academia and beyond. Let’s continue this transformative work, where students and staff stand shoulder to shoulder, shaping the future of education at Leeds. 

Enriching the student experience at Leeds: A collective commitment 

At Leeds, the student experience goes beyond the confines of lecture theatres and assessments. It’s a dynamic journey – a fusion of academic learning, personal development, community engagement, and real-world connections. Every member of our University community contributes to this vibrant tapestry. 

As we reflect on this, let’s turn our attention to the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Undergraduate Programme Survey (UGPS). Currently underway, the NSS invites our final year undergraduates to share their insights about their time at Leeds. Staff across the University play a pivotal role in promoting the survey. The NSS toolkit has been developed to equip us with resources, and workshops are available to guide us on effective promotion strategies. 

Empowering our students to complete the NSS allows us to celebrate success and prioritise improvement. From the NSS 2023 results, each school identified key areas for enhancement. These actions are visible to students, allowing us to monitor progress throughout the year. By prioritising improvement, we demonstrate our unwavering commitment to enhancing crucial aspects of our community. 

The UGPS is equally important to us as an institution as the NSS.  

The insights that this survey gives us from non-finalist students, will enable us to be proactive and support our current students who will remain in Leeds for a little longer and can really benefit from the excellent teaching and support that we know we offer. 

The results from these surveys, and with the actions that they generate, can demonstrate our commitment to working in partnership with our students and enhancing their experience as well as demonstrating that their voice matters.  

In these next few weeks, let’s engage with our undergraduate students, discuss the NSS and UGPS, and encourage participation. Together, we enrich and fortify the student experience at Leeds. 


Before starting in this role, Charlotte was Director of Student Education in the School of Biomedical Sciences. Charlotte has guided the school through several periods of change and recently partnered with students on developing active learning approaches, inclusive authentic assessment, and curriculum design.  

Charlotte has been at the University of Leeds for 21 years in a student-facing role. She has worked on many scholarship projects both locally and internationally, in particular within the skills development area. She is a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an awardee of the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE). 

Charlotte has a keen interest in public engagement, delivering major research projects in this field as well as working closely with the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. As part of her Student Education Fellowship (2015-18), she created a discovery module focusing on public engagement skills and communicating research to the public. This is still ongoing and a very popular module with students, which encourages them to collaborate with researchers at Leeds in developing tools and activities for them to engage with an audience beyond the University.

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