The League of Extraordinary Graduates (Student Engagement Conference 2017)


Bishop Grosseteste University held its second successful student engagement conference on 29 March 2017. As the institutional enhancement for 2016-17 is to embed a suite of graduate attributes across all programmes, this year the focus was on employability and enterprise. The eventaddressed the processesby which we embed graduate attributes and was a joint venture between CELT and BG Futures.

Planning group:Kate Smith, Allison Webb, Eve Stuart, Sue Cordell, Helen Waters-Marsh, Employability Champions

Delegates:A mixture of academics, professional support staff and students (approx. 40 delegates in total). At least one representative from each academic school attended.


13.00Welcome Dr Claire Thomson, Head of CELT

13.10 Keynote and Q and A Paul Charman, Deputy Director, Careers and Employability Service, The University of Nottingham

14.00 Inspirational employers Jon Brown:National Leader of Education and Director of Curriculum and Assessment Karen Lowthrop, MBE Neil Everett, CEO, Software Europe

14.45 Inspirational employer’s Q and A panel

15.00 How to grow your graduate attributes activity Team Entrepreneurship students

15.50 Closing summary

2. Findings

Key to this event’s success was the ‘how to grow your graduate attributes’ activity which examined each graduate attribute and was created and led by students on the BA Business (Team Entrepreneurship) programme. The students decided how to run this activity, but we asked them to include the following content:

  • A brief introduction on who they are and the unique properties of their course
  • A brief description of the graduate attribute they are examining and how it is developed on their course
  • Host discussions on where are we now as an institution on integrating this graduate attribute
  • Host discussions on where we want to be with regard to this graduate attribute
  • Host discussions on what success will look like –how we will measure it?

Below is an analysis of the themes, which emerged during these discussions.

Graduate Attribute / Theme
Academic Literacies / Introduce this attributes earlier to give more time to embed
There should be more focus on learning to learn/meta-cognition/ self-reflection
Global Citizenship / There should be more relevant module trips
The University/ Students should invite speakers in from a diversity of different backgrounds
Information Literacies / The University should do more to encourage students to recognise the skills they acquire
The University should engage students to understand the need for information literacies
Being Enterprising / Student should be given the opportunity to take risks - allowed to become autonomous learners, to build confidence
Students should be given the opportunity to be creative
Digital Fluency / Collaborative working so the tutor teaches the student and the student teaches the tutor
As a learning community we should be learning through sharing online
Employability / There should be more employer visits
The University should offer self-awareness classes

3. Evaluation

Approximately a quarter of delegates completed an online evaluation. Below are the results:

  • 100% of delegates said they had a better understanding of graduate attributes
  • 92% of delegates rated the event as either extremely useful or very useful
  • 92% of delegates rated the Inspirational Employers as either extremely useful or very useful

Below are the responses when we asked delegates how they would use the information presented at the event:

Try to weave these attributes into my studies and placements. Update my LinkedIn account. Contact Hill Holt Wood after May to self-organise a placement in order to expand my experience. Use CELT and BG Futures services as required.
I am going to look at people as an individual, see what their needs are for them to achieve the attributes.
Continuing to impress on students how to be professional while on placements
Make the CV have a better start.
I will take on a lot from what each speaker has said and try get in touch with them in the future!
I am much more aware of the Graduate Attributes and how useful they are, not only within university, but also within life
It helped with my assessment. I found the talks very inspiring and can use the things I learnt in my written work.
Discuss it with my students
Inspiration given by the speakers
I will take some of the feedback given about Information Literacy and act on it to help students better achieve this attribute.
For interviews to explain how graduate attributes have impacted my education

Below are the responses when we asked if there was anything our delegates would do differently following the event:

Attempt to project the graduate attributes in all areas of my life.
I am going to see people as themselves and work on how to help them achieve where they need to go.
Nothing x 2
Change my CV
I will definitely try and embed at least some of the attributes into my learning and life.
It opened my eyes to how I present myself to employers. It also made me aware that employers check social media accounts to find out about potential employees.
Trying to make even better use of any feedback received and be more reflective!
Promote Information Literacy more.
Reflect more

4. Conclusion

We will use the information garneredthrough the student-led discussions on graduate attributes (How to grow your graduate attributes activity)to produce guidance, which can be shared across the institution, on how to embed furtherthe graduate attributes and meet the institutional enhancement outlined in the annual monitoring review. The information will also be used in the programme development manual, which supports the validation process. We will disseminate information about the conference through a range of marketing channels both internally and externally to the university.

5. Event Photography

Dr Claire Thomson –Welcome Address

Dr Claire Thomson – Welcome Address



Results of the ‘how to grow your graduate attributes’ activity

Delegates involved in round table discussions

Karen Lowthrop, MBE – Inspiring Employers

Neil Everett, CEO, Software Europe – Inspiring Employers