University Tips Blog
Image of a teacher holding three visuals to illustrate connection
A headshot image of the author, Andrew Cooper

by Andrew Cooper

Hybrid Delivery Co-ordinator at the University of Liverpool

posted on 22 Mar '24

What to expect when starting a new relationship with a university

Having worked at four different universities, I know that they all have a different offering for schools and colleges. But there are similar things that you can expect during your first interaction with a university.

The start of a blossoming relationship

As with every success in education, relationships are very impactful and every university wants to cement a positive relationship with you from the start. Be open with what your expectations are and what you hope to gain from your working relationship. Your university contact should be equally open with what they need from you.

Your university partner needs to understand what makes your school unique and what your individual needs are. They can then explore what bespoke support or activities they can offer. Help them to tailor content to make it more engaging and relevant by sharing your school and student demographics. No single university can offer everything, but they should be willing to signpost to others who can help.

Preparing for a visit

If you have not received one beforehand, ask for an agenda of the day with agreed goals. This is helpful, especially if you can’t attend and a colleague is running the trip for you – it ensures all parties are clear on expectations.

Regular check-ins

If the university is hosting you, they should be checking in after each session. Be open and honest with how the day is going. If you’re the host, offer quick and constructive feedback after the first session so they know they’re hitting your expectations and can make any necessary amends.

Data, data, data

Universities need data to demonstrate the impact of their engagements for external and internal evaluation. Students will often be asked baseline questions at the start of the session and offered an evaluation later. You and your colleagues should be requested to complete some form of evaluation, either on the day or shortly after. And ask if the outcomes can be shared with you so that you can use it for your own internal monitoring, such as the Gatsby Benchmarks.

Ask who is the best contact going forward

Each university will have a central point of contact, who can offer you a wide range of support, even if they’re not the person you initially booked through. If they can’t help, ask them for an introduction to other helpful contacts, either internally or at other institutions.

Don’t be afraid to ask for support

Ultimately, a university’s role is to support your students. Never be afraid to ask if they can do something for you. Your first time working with a university is always exciting and should be seen as the start of a long-term relationship. Keep in touch, ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for a favour.

As long as your students reach the right destination for them, we’ve all done our jobs properly.

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