More than just listening: The role of student voice in higher education, an academic perspective
In the past decade in the UK there has been an increasing emphasis and amplification of student voice in higher education, raising questions around its purpose and use. The aim of this perspective paper is to consider the role student voice can play in a UK higher education sector that is heavily dominated by marketised and consumerist discourses and perspectives. The paper draws on scholarship from both the UK and international perspectives and argues that student voice should focus on transformation and empowerment of the learner and not just listening to students. Adopting such approaches to student voice shares commonalities with research and practice that focuses on working with students-as-partners. The paper, argues that there is a need and value to foster and develop a culture of partnership between staff and students and suggests how adopting a partnership approach has the potential to change the culture and relationships between students, academics and their institution. To conclude, the paper provides a number of recommendations to assist practitioners in developing their approaches to student voice and suggests that creating institutional approaches will never be fixed, requiring constant development of practice.