Listening for retention: enabling student success through partnering with the student voice

Luke Millard*, Richard Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter considers the creation of an institutional approach that saw the student voice placed at the heart of engagement and retention activities. Partnerships with the student representative body and individual students led to an evolution in institutional policy, practice and values as the curriculum and support services became better aligned to reflect the ‘real lives’ of students. It recounts a partnership journey that found fruition through participation in the UK’s What Works? 2: Student Retention and Success programme and saw significant improvements in retention and widespread engagement of academic staff. Aligned to this were significant improvements in the use of student data and the creation of knowledge around the nature of the student cohort and the individuals within it. In particular, this chapter will signal the move the Birmingham City University and Students’ Union made in shifting the paradigm from the goal of attracting ‘university-ready students’ to one where the university started to become ‘ready for the students’ it recruited.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudent retention and success in higher education
Subtitle of host publicationinstitutional change for the 21st century
EditorsMahsood Shah, Sally Kift, Liz Thomas
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030800451
ISBN (Print)9783030800444
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2021


  • Students
  • Partnerships
  • Belonging
  • Embedding
  • Voice


Dive into the research topics of 'Listening for retention: enabling student success through partnering with the student voice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this