The REACT Collaborative Development Programme: Bringing universities together to enhance student-engagement activities for the hard to reach

Elisabeth Dunne, Tom Lowe


As outlined in the funding application to the Higher Education Funding Council for Engagement (HEFCE), the REACT programme was designed to support the expansion of context-appropriate interventions to at least ten further universities through consultancy, workshops, mentoring of Student Unions and academic staff in other institutions, and working with students and student engagement practitioners to spread the interventions (REACT, 2015). This aligned with other aims of the bid, including that REACT would: disseminate best practice in relation to the challenge of engaging those outside the usual ambit of Student Engagement (SE) activities; build communities of practice based on strong evidence; and provide consultancy support and proven approaches amongst at least ten UK universities.This paper highlights how the REACT Collaborative Development Programme was designed to facilitate these aims, to build momentum and spread practice beyond the core of Winchester, Exeter and London Metropolitan universities. All aspects of the programme are outlined, from the initial Expression of Interest to the collaborative process of putting together this issue of JEIPC as a final output of REACT.

Full Text:



Bols A. and Turhan, C. (2017) Independent Evaluation of the HEFCE Funded REACT Project. Internal Document, Guild HE.

Boud, D. and Middleton, H. (2003) ‘Learning from others at work: communities of practice and informal learning.’ Journal of workplace learning, 15(5), 194-202.

Keenan, C. (2014) Mapping student-led peer learning in the UK. The Higher Education Academy. Available at: (Accessed: 23 July 2017).

Lowe, T. and Dunne, E. (2017) ‘Setting the Scene for the REACT Programme: Aims, Challenges and the Way Ahead.’ The Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, 5(1).

REACT Project Public Bid (2015) REACT: Realising Engagement through Active Culture Transformation. University of Winchester, in collaboration with the University of Exeter and London Metropolitan University [Resources]. Available at: (Accessed: 26 July 2016).

Sims, S., Lowe T., Barnes, G. and Hutber, L. (2014) ‘The Student Fellows Scheme: A partnership between the University of Winchester and Winchester Student Union.’ Educational Developments, 15(3) 7-10. SEDA.

Trowler, P. (2008) Cultures and change in higher education: Theories and practices. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Trowler, P.R. (1998) Academics Responding to Change. New Higher Education Frameworks and Academic Cultures. Philadelphia: SRHE, Open University.

The Student Engagement Partnership [TSEP] (2014) ‘The Principles of Student Engagement: The Student Engagement Conversation.’ London: TSEP.

University of Salford (2016). Strategy 2016-2021. Available at: (Accessed: 25 July 2017).

Vidovich, L. (2013) ‘Policy Research in Higher Education: Theories and Methods for Globalising Times.’ In: Huisman, J., and Tight, M. Theory and method in higher education research. London: Emerald Group Publishing.

Wilson-Medhurst, S, and Blair, A. (2017) Bringing about change - the challenges and opportunities for academic leaders! York: Higher Education Academy. Available at: (Accessed: 8 August 2017).

Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.