WISE originality and innovative character lies in the fact that its multidimensional methodology and model will allow to accompany students throughout the educational lifecycle taking into account subjective (i.e. student specific information considering personal, social, emotional viewpoints) and objective (i.e. factual information) elements. Partners carried out an extensive investigation of the state of the art, also on the basis of their direct knowledge and expertise in this area. The work of the project is organised into activities, based on the definition and production of specific Intellectual Outputs. Each Output is explicit, tangible and pragmatic. In brief, the WISE project is organised along the following structure:
Output 1 – Common Methodology and Guidelines for Research and Analysis
Specifically, the partners have been working on:
- a shared Methodology paper, including:
- the general scale, scope and aims of the research
- the overall methodological approach
- the timing and sequencing of specific Research and Analysis activities
- research guidelines and approach, sources and resources identified for primary research
- criteria for the selection of target groups
- literature and other sources for secondary research / identification of comparable scientific and policy documents
- elements to be extrapolated during the analysis / benchmarking
- set of questions to be asked to respondents
- data and info collection matrices
- structure of reporting and aggregation tools
- common schedule for research and analysis
- definition of common tools for the analysis
Output 2 – Students’ Welfare and Social Dimension of Higher Education: demand and supply side perspectives for Improved Tracking
The WISE Survey was jointly developed by all the partners.
The data have been collected by means of a structured survey comprising of general information (age, gender, housing, purpose of studies, employment status etc.). The survey also included specific questions for international students and students with disabilities. The survey covered six main themes of interest: Food, Housing, Financial support, Health and Psychological support, Study and Personal development support and Sports activities. The respondents were asked to evaluate the importance of needs connected to the above mentioned themes and to indicate the level of satisfaction regarding the services provided to meet these needs. The structure of the survey was based on the chronological phases of university studies from entry to exit and specific sections for international students and students with disabilities.
The inquiry was sent out to students in all four partner countries, more specifically within the following universities:
- Croatia: The Catholic University of Croatia
- Poland: The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin
- Finland: Åbo Akademi University
- Italy: Fondazione Endisu – Ente Nazionale per il diritto allo studio e per I servizi agli studenti, ESU Padova, ESU Venezia, ESU Verona and EDUCatt – Ente per il diritto allo studio dell’ Università Cattolica.
An amount of more than 120,000 students received the survey (either by email or as a paper copy). The number of respondents was more than 9,000, at least three times the minimum expected by UE. All the members of the Consortium dedicated themselves to the analysis of the research results to highlight and pinpoint the most significant and relevant elements characterising students’ welfare, students’ support services and tracking methodologies in the various countries and contexts investigated.
Partners carried out a paper focused on desk-research / secondary research to investigate existing literature, policy papers, analysis and diagnostics on tracking systems, students’ welfare, student support services to ensure coherence in the research phase and accuracy in the consolidation of the findings.
Output 3 – WISE Model and Matrix
On the basis of the research results and the findings of the analysis above, the partnership defined an innovative multidimensional WISE model and matrix, redefining the concept of “students’ welfare” stemming from the pan-European research and analysis carried out through the project.
Thanks to this Model and Matrix, Higher Education Institutions will be able to gauge the specific needs of students and better tackle the social dimension on the basis of this new knowledge, as well as empower evidence based policy making for the definition of better tailored and more effective policies.
This framework pinpoints specific “welfare” needs of higher education students along the various dimensions possible by cross-linking three key moments (Entry/Education/Exit) and key themes the WISE Matrix was consolidating.
The key themes of the students’ life identified are:
- Orientation at entry, i.e. educational guidance
- Health and psychological support
- Study and personal development (Behavioural / social / Tutoring / coaching)
- Foreign students
- Student with disabilities
- Orientation at exit
The aim of the project was to identify what’s called “Red Zone”. The Red Zone is the area that includes services showing the lower degree of satisfaction but the higher degree of importance.
Output 4 – Validated Final Version of the WISE Model and Matrix
Once developed, the WISE Model and Matrix will be piloted to ensure its accuracy, relevance and user friendliness in identifying students’ needs, anticipating students’ needs, linking the most relevant, prompt and timely student support service to that specific need, and properly track students throughout their educational lifecycle (and beyond). This piloting exercise will be the crucial test to validate the Model and Matrix with the target groups and end users before the WISE model can be finalized for its mainstreaming and uptake in other HEI contexts outside of the partnership.