West Lothian College’s Student Association has been shortlisted as a finalist in the national Student Engagement Awards. These awards recognise the work of colleges and universities to increase engagement with students.

The Student Association, in partnership with West Lothian College, is one of finalists shortlisted in the College Impact category for an initiative delivered by a student association, or led by a student association in partnership with their college, which has had a significant impact on enhancing the student learning experience.

The college has been shortlisted for its self-evaluation tool, SPARKLE, which was created by the Student Association for use by students so that they could have a bigger influence on improvements in the college.

This year SPARKLE was transferred online so that students could access the tool at a time and place convenient to them. The evaluation questions were shortened to improve the process and reach more students.

SPARKLE has given students in all classes the chance to comment on their experience at the college. The information collected from all classes provides vital evidence of how students feel about their courses and wider college experience.

Some of the changes that have already been made this year through the SPARKLE process include changes to timetables to support students with childcare responsibilities or part-time jobs, free soup at lunch time due to the financial pressures facing an increasing number of students, and improvement of college Wi-Fi.

West Lothian College Student President, Michelle Low said: “It is fantastic that we are up for this award and it really demonstrates how partnership working between the Student Association and the college is recognising and valuing feedback from our students. The feedback we gather from students is influencing positive change at the college.”

Principal of West Lothian College, Jackie Galbraith said: “I am delighted that the efforts of staff and students to improve the student experience at college have been recognised by being shortlisted for this national award. We are very proud of our hard-working Student Association and delighted that the SPARKLE tool – developed in West Lothian – has been given national recognition.”

The awards are being organised by sparqs (student partnerships in quality Scotland). The shortlist for all categories is available here.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at Surgeon’s Hall in Edinburgh on 28 March 2019 hosted by Professor Norman Sharp OBE.