Steal Sheffield's secrets to widen your student appeal
8 January 2015

If you're looking for fresh ways to appeal to students, it's worth going to Will Nash and Richard Simpson's session at English UK's marketing conference next month.

Richard and Will, who are director and academic director for Teacher Training and Development at Sheffield University's English Language Teaching Centre, have some really interesting insights into how their university has become so popular with students (it came top in the THES Student Experience Awards this year, as well as being the university most students would recommend to a friend.)

They shared some of these in a session at English UK's student experience conference last September, which got such good feedback that we've asked them back to talk about the subject with a wider audience.

Will and Richard say much of what Sheffield does is transferrable and adaptable, "and it's not to say that your institution doesn't do many of the same things already". They talk about the university's Give It A Go sessions, where students have a one-off opportunity to try new things ranging from salsa though to cookery. It would, he says, be possible to get staff to use their talents and interests to run one-off sessions once a year.

Another popular Sheffield institution was Barista Night, where a coffee chain was asked to host a group of students learning to make a cappuccino one evening - and which benefited the coffee shop by encouraging repeat business. That also might be replicable in language schools, they say, perhaps broadening the idea.

Volunteering was also popular among Sheffield students and would be transferrable to language schools with students perhaps running a stall at a local fair or volunteering on a longer-term basis.

Other ideas they share include encouraging students to take additional courses, creating some kind of graduation award recognising all their experiences, and "virtual welcomes" including online Open Days and very creative use of Google Maps.

Find out more about the English UK Marketing Conference 2015, including the provisional programme and bookings. The conference is being held at the Thistle Marble Arch Hotel on Friday 6 February.


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