Written by University of Chester’s VC Eunice Simmons
What is the Citizen Student Strategy?
Our University Strategy aims to give you a purposeful education which helps you to develop deep expertise in your subject area, whilst offering opportunities for you to grow professionally and as a citizen.
The key themes of the Strategy are:
1) taking a holistic approach
2) encouraging lifelong learning
3) developing social capital.
A holistic approach
Taking a holistic approach means that we aim to view you as a whole person, not just a student on a particular programme. You need to engage with this idea too as it means that you make the most of the many opportunities offered at UoC. Learning how to keep healthy and happy is a good start and the University runs lots of initiatives to support this. Whether you are sporty or not, there will be something new to improve your wellbeing. We also want you to enjoy your studies and become a strong student so we help you to develop excellent study skills – which are very applicable to the world of work.
Thinking ahead, there is no doubt many of you will have diverse and interesting careers – probably more varied than my generation’s! We are keen you think strategically about lifelong learning and how to navigate the changing skills and knowledge expectations once you leave here. To help you with this, the University offers ongoing employability advice for graduates to ensure you flourish, and your programme will give you a great platform to build on.
Throughout your time with us we want you to develop your networks, your confidence and your ability to make the most of the context you live and work in. This ‘social capital’ can be enhanced by many experiences, including working, travel abroad and volunteering. Many of these take you outside the University but don’t forget that contributing to the University’s student life yourself as an academic representative, ambassador or society leader will be a mutually beneficial and enriching experience.
Some of you will be in a workplace context from the start and the Citizen Student approach should help you to make the most of this. You will learn about how your sector works, and importantly, how it could be even more effective for society with your input and ideas. Your programme will develop your ability to think creatively and critically and to question assumptions about how things have always been done.
Your Student Voice
There will be lots of opportunity to develop great communication skills too – nowadays there are so many ways to get your voice heard so learn how to use them to good effect, and practise using them as a citizen, not just as a student. University is also a chance to consider your values and what you stand for so do take advantage of all the thought-provoking activities provided by our multi-faith Chaplaincy.
Our UoC sites
The Strategy also helps the University prioritise where it can be most effective. For example, we have set up University Centres in Shrewsbury, Warrington, Birkenhead and Reaseheath with new investment in all these locations. We are working with businesses, local authorities and the public sector to determine what programmes will best contribute to the economic and community development of each area and region – and how our graduates can gain maximum advantage by staying local.
Expand your network
Further afield, this focus on citizenship, values and professionalism has attracted great interest from international students and we now have well over 100 countries represented in the student body. University is a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world so do make sure you grow your network and break out of your predictable friendship group!
None of this personal growth will happen if you choose to be passive and dis-engaged. Our Citizen Student Strategy will only work for you if you engage actively with it – and with your studies. After the disruption of the past two years make the most of university life and all it has to offer.
Be sure to check out our Events pages to see what events and opportunities are available – and get involved!