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Value & Impact

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Value & Impact

The Value & Impact project aimed to develop a holistic approach to understanding and evaluating the value and impact of services that support students. Find out more:

Project outputs

The Value & Impact project produced many benefits and outputs for use by Student Services professionals and departments. You can use the outputs of the project to assess the value and impact of the Student Services you offer at your higher education provider. Outputs and benefits include:

  • A toolkit offering a basket of approaches to evaluation (available below online and to download).
  • final report of the project outcomes (below).
  • A management support pack (members only, below).
  • Value & Impact bank of tools (members only, below).
  • Value & Impact blog.
  • Improved understanding of the value of universities’ support services.
  • Increased efficiency and professionalism.
  • Improvements in the quality of services and the student experience.

Here's a summary of the project outputs (PDF 3.8 MB).

Online toolkit

Online version of the Value & Impact toolkit

Value & Impact toolkit

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Download toolkit

Download version of the Value & Impact toolkit (PDF 2.7 MB)

Value & Impact resource (opens in a new window)

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Project report

Value & Impact project final report (PDF 100 KB)

Value & Impact resource (opens in a new window)

Find out more

Management support

Value & Impact management support pack

Value & Impact resource

Members only

Value & Impact bank

Value & Impact bank of tools shared by members

Value & Impact resource

Members only

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About Value & Impact

The Value & Impact project sought to:

  • Identify meaningful ways to measure and demonstrate the impact and value of services in higher education providers.
  • Develop potential measures and pilot them in at least four higher education providers.
  • Produce and disseminate tools and techniques to measure the value and impact of services.

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Background

AMOSSHE was awarded £73,000 from the HEFCE LGM fund towards a national project looking at the value and impact of Student Services. The project ran for 15 months, and developed a publicly available toolkit that higher education providers can use to measure and benchmark their services.

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Sector input

The project was guided from the outset by a steering group and also a peer support group, composed of Student Services professionals, AMOSSHE Executive members and other experts from the higher education sector. Other key endorsing organisations for the Value & Impact project included:

  • GuildHE
  • University of Bath
  • Kingston University
  • University of Salford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Surrey
  • Swansea University

Steering group

The Value & Impact steering group:

  • Provided overall strategic direction for the project.
  • Enabled key endorsing and funding organisations to keep informed about progress.
  • Advised on the selection of peer support group members.
  • Approved the selection of the case study higher education providers.
  • Discussed the major findings of the research and pilots.
  • Considered the implications of the project, and whether any further actions needed to be taken and by whom.
  • Promoted the project to external groups including relevant professional statutory bodies.

The steering group chair was Professor John Craven, Vice-Chancellor, University of Portsmouth. The project team were:

  • Ruth Williams, Principal Policy Analyst, CHERI (research team lead)
  • Raegan Hiles, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, AMOSSHE (project manager, and secretary to steering group)
  • Andrew West, University of Sheffield and AMOSSHE Executive member (peer support group chair)
  • Myles Danson, Programme Manager, JISC
  • Christopher Hallas, Academic Registrar UCL, Chair AUA (Association of University Administrators)
  • Gary Loke, Head of Policy, ECU (Equality Challenge Unit)
  • Fiona Waye, Policy Adviser, Universities UK
  • Rachael Tooth, HE Policy Adviser, HEFCE
  • David Malcolm, Head of Social Policy, National Union Students
  • Rachel Segal, Higher Education Academy
  • Karel Thomas, Executive Officer, BUFDG (British Universities Finance Directors Group)
  • Dave Hall, Academic Registrar Leicester, AHUA (Association of Heads of University Administration)

The steering group met on 1 June 2010, 23 September 2010 and 8 June 2011.

Peer support group

The Value & Impact project was also supported by a team of Student Services and higher education experts, known as the peer support group. This group provided advice and guidance to the project team as required, and commented on the project as it developed. The peer support group:

  • Provided detailed advice on evaluating student support services.
  • Advised on possible pilot higher education providers and services.
  • Commented on the responses to the relevant questions in the AMOSSHE members’ survey.
  • Offered detailed advice on the menu of toolkit options.
  • Provided guidance during the pilot phase.
  • Participated in a workshop to discuss experiences and results of the pilot evaluations.
  • Advised about the web-based resources and commented on the draft final report.
  • Provided any other relevant / appropriate advice / guidance to support the project, for example from a practitioner viewpoint.

The peer support group chair was Dr. Andrew West. Andrew is the director of one of the largest higher education Student Services departments in England, and manages the team that developed the holistic toolkit at the University of Sheffield. He has a comprehensive understanding of the different services that support students, management needs within those services, and the ways that different measurements might be applied.

AMOSSHE also appointed ten experts from the sector to the peer support group. These were:

  • Ben Bailey, Senior Assistant Registrar, University of Derby
  • Alison Barty, Head of Student Services and Senior Student Counsellor, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Christine Buchanan, Dean of Students, Robert Gordon University
  • David Dickinson, Director of Student Services, University of Surrey
  • Robin Dollery, Head of Student Services, University of Nottingham
  • Cathryn Harvey, Academic Registrar, Newcastle University
  • Gillian Jack, Head of Student Services, University of Glamorgan
  • Theresa McGoldrick, Director of Student Services, University of the West of England
  • Sally Olohan, Head of Student Services, Nottingham Trent University
  • Chris Twine, Director of Student Support & Development, University of Birmingham

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Project phases

The timeline for the project was:

Time Phase
June 2010 Literature review
July 2010 to September 2010 Development phase
October 2010 to February 2011 Pilot phase
May 2011 Toolkit and final report
June 2011 Dissemination of outputs and launch events

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Literature review

The Value & Impact literature review reported at the end of June 2010, and presented its initial findings at the AMOSSHE 2010 annual conference on 8 July 2010, in Cardiff. Here are the findings of the literature review:

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Pilots

Four English higher education providers were selected to pilot the suggested value and impact tools from October 2010 to February 2011. The aim of this fieldwork was to collate information and develop case studies of 'proven’ tools that can be used to inform the sector’s understanding of the impact and value of services that support students. 

The four pilot higher education providers who tested and further developed tools for the Value & Impact toolkit were:

  • University of Brighton
  • University of East London
  • University of Surrey
  • University of York

The services tested at one or more of the pilot higher education providers:

  • Counselling
  • Disability / dyslexia support
  • Financial advice
  • Mental health
  • Study skills
  • International students

The higher education providers taking part in the pilots did the following:

  • Tested tools to determine their usefulness in assessing the value and impact of a particular service.
  • Reported on their experiences and results from their evaluation of a limited number of support services.
  • Participated in a workshop in spring 2011 to compare experiences and results.
  • Provided regular progress reports to the AMOSSHE Project Manager.

Pilots' feedback

"We are more focused on what impact actually is – and we are starting to use this much more frequently when discussing future plans. As a result staff are increasingly thinking about this more strategically."

University of East London

"All study areas consider the pilot to have been a valuable and worthwhile use of time and resource."

University of Surrey

"We have learnt a number of valuable lessons and now have useful tools to adapt, develop and embed into routine evaluations of our work in the future."

University of York

"We will need to continue explaining that measuring impact helps us to be more effective and efficient in deploying our scarce resources where there is the greatest affect."

University of Brighton

AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is a UK non-profit professional association. Company registration number 4778650.
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