The case for the ''usual suspects''

Theodora Petra Negrea


This opinion piece puts forward an idea that has generally been rejected in the context of student engagement. Whilst the majority of change agents would target the entire student population in encouraging staff-student partnerships, this short article presents an opposing idea: harnessing the commitment of some already engaged students can result in a domino effect of social learning and peer-motivated engagement. Examples from the field of marketing and psychology are used to support this idea, as well as the author's own student experience.



Alpha Users; Influence; Social Learning; Participation

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Ahonen, T., Kasper, T., Melkko, S., (2004) 3G Marketing: Communities and Strategic Partnerships. Wiley-Blackwell

Bandura, A. (1977) Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall., (2015) ‘Student Engagement and Retention: Easing the transition to HE: Building Capacity.’ Available at: (Accessed: 2 June 2015)., (2015) CAN networking event 17 &18 March 2015 | Change Agents' Network. Available at: (Accessed: 2 June 2015).

Department for Business Innovation and Skills (2011) Higher Education: Students at the heart of the system. (Online), CM 8122, London: The Stationery Office.



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