Student Futures Manifesto published ahead of new academic year by Birmingham Newman University

14/09/2023 by Newman Staff

Birmingham Newman University has officially launched its Student Futures Manifesto after 16 months of consultations and planning between staff and students.

Since March 2022, the university has worked in partnership with Birmingham Newman Students Union to develop a range of commitments after gathering data across three consultation events. As a result of these co-creation events, a set of pledges have been agreed that fits into the six headline themes being used nationally;

  • support for students before they reach university
  • an induction into university life for each year of study
  • a clear outline of the teaching students will receive and the necessary tools to access it
  • activities inside and outside the curriculum that build skills, networks, and community,
  • support for Mental Health and Wellbeing,
  • a clear pathway towards graduate outcomes were agreed.

The Student Futures Manifesto has been produced in conjunction with Birmingham Newman Students’ Union, which emphasises student support and remediates any learning, skills, or confidence gaps that had emerged over the pandemic. The Student Futures Manifesto stems from the participation in a national piece of work co-ordinated by the UPP Foundation, an independent charity working with universities and other higher education bodies whose report called on universities to co-produce a manifesto that contained actions and commitments to secure successful student futures.

In June 2023 staff and students came together to develop the pledges for each theme to commit to delivering each of the pledges over the coming years. The event was opened by Professor Jackie Dunne, Vice Chancellor of Newman University, and Professor Richard Medcalf, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students). Alice Mason, a 2nd Year Student from Counselling and Working with Children, Young People and Families, who was the student lead within the Student Staff Partnership Project, and Zoe Harrison, Newman University Student Union President, shared their experiences of being part of the project. A visual representation of the manifesto is on public display on campus.


Professor Richard Medcalf, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) at Birmingham Newman University who is leading on the enhancement and improvement of the student experience, said: “Co-creating a Student Futures Manifesto over the past year has provided a really powerful framework through which our staff and students have been able to reflect on the past few years and make plans for the future. The pledges we are making range from making enhancements to our pre-induction offer to the way in which our alumni can contribute to the aspirations and capabilities of our current students. They reflect the entire student lifecycle and will have far-reaching impacts over the next few years”.

Newman Students’ Union President, Zoe Harrison commented: “Working on this co-created piece of work has been an extremely eye opening experience that Newman Students’ Union have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of. I firmly believe that we have created a strong framework that will benefit our students and their experience whilst they are here at Newman that truly reflects the values and ethos of our institution.”

Find out more about the UPP Foundation and the Student Futures Commission.