Identifying Students' Concerns
Taking a Whole Institutional Approach
In the UK, the transformation of a relatively well-funded elite higher education system into a comparatively poorly funded mass system has resulted in significantly worse staff–student ratios, requiring a rethinking of both teaching methods and the way that pastoral and other personal support are delivered. The consequent reduction in the amount of personal contact between academic staff and students has been offset, to some extent, by an expansion in the range of specialist central student services provided in many institutions, although the ratios of support staff to students have not necessarily improved. Academics are gradually relinquishing their role in respect of personal support, and referring students with personal concerns and problems to the central service providers.
At the University of Leicester, the expansion of central provision for students included the creation, in 1995, of the Educational Development and Support Centre (EDSC). This unit brings together a range of development and support services for students (careers, welfare and counselling services, AccessAbility centre, sick bay and Student Learning Centre) and a Teaching and Learning Unit that offers services for staff to encourage the development of their teaching. This particular grouping of provision makes explicit the link between effective teaching and appropriate support for learning. MacFarlane (1995) defined education as the 'design, manage