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Partnerships and International Strategy

Partnerships and International Strategy

Education must at all times be an enriching journey of exploration and discovery, providing opportunities for learners of all ages and backgrounds to explore new knowledge, experience the interdependent nature of learning, and push personal development boundaries with new found confidence. We find joy in discovery; we take pleasure in invention; we celebrate human creativity; and we seek wisdom, embracing it wherever we find it and strive to apply it to every aspect of life.

University of Chester Corporate Plan - Vision 2020

The University recognises the important role it has in preparing graduates for lives and careers in a global capacity. Our future graduates’ lives will, unlike any generation that has gone before them, be more global than ever in their scope, both in the personal experiences they may encounter, as well as the professional interactions and opportunities they may be presented with. The University’s role is therefore not only to prepare our students as best as we can for their lifelong journeys, but critically, it will be to help them recognise that their lives will be global in context, and to approach their lives with this knowledge.

As a University we can achieve this through various methods, primarily through our teaching and research practises but also via the other interactions and experiences students will have throughout their academic journey. In order to impart our increased knowledge of the world and appropriate skills and experiences to our students, we the University, must have a well-developed sense of why it is important to internationalise and the benefits of doing so.

The Strategy is therefore designed to be inclusive, continuing to enhance student and staff learning as the University develops in new disciplinary areas and provides higher education for an increasingly diverse staff and student population. It builds on the institution’s reputation for excellence in teaching and its capacity for continued enhancement of the student experience across a rich diversity of contexts and disciplines.

Working together we shall:

  1. Build and maintain strong and sustainable partnerships in regional and international arenas in alignment with the University’s educational ethos and where clear, viable and long-term mutual benefits may be derived.
  1. Become a significant recruiter of appropriately qualified international students and provide an attractive learning and living environment for our international students, wherever they are located.
  1. Enhance our international research, teaching and learning opportunities.
  1. Enrich the development of our staff and students through the further expansion of international exchange and study abroad opportunities.
  1. Ensure the highest possible quality and standards in all our collaborative activities, both in the UK and internationally.
  1. Encourage all departments to contribute to the realisation of the University’s Partnerships and International Strategy.

Each Department, Faculty, Directorate and Support Area will respond differently to the many challenges and opportunities presented. Towards achievement of the strategy we commit to;

Establish a range of measures to encourage and support international links in the areas of research, teaching and learning exchange.

Encourage active participation in appropriate research collaborations, internationally as well as nationally, and publishing and presenting at conferences with an international audience. The University will encourage participation in international research institutes, professional associations and projects alongside partners engaged in interdisciplinary and transcontinental research.

Develop our international teaching and learning opportunities through participation in Erasmus exchange schemes and international collaborative curriculum development and the development of joint awards.

Develop successful staff (Research, teaching, administrative and technical) and learners who are enabled to operate confidently and with integrity at home and/or overseas in intercultural and international contexts.

Actively seek external funding to support our international and intercultural development work.

Cultivate and grow the profile of ‘study abroad’ across the university; via-networking, internal, external marketing and recruitment.

Actively support students in participating in global citizenship activities around the globe. Enabling them to choose from an array of opportunities and destinations, such as participation in the Experiential Overseas Learning scheme, studying overseas for an academic year or participation in the Erasmus scheme.

Develop expertise within Faculties and service areas to enable the swift appraisal of opportunities and the secure management of both home or overseas provision and ensuring that risk analysis procedures for new partners are fully addressed and cover academic, commercial, legal and reputational risks.

Produce consistent pricing models to assist Faculties in developing appropriate negotiating stances with potential partners.

Through the embedding of sound quality and standards management principles within partner organizations to facilitate and support the study of University of Chester programmes within the United Kingdom and overseas.

Continue to engage with partners to monitor the student experience and academic performance, and assure the maintenance of standards.

Establish relationships from which both home and international students might progress to University of Chester on-site provision.

Success should be clearly recognisable despite the differing areas of responsibility and expertise required from each Faculty and Department. Amongst our measures of success we include;

  • Development of long-term partnerships with appropriate institutions that benefit the University economically and in terms of its reputation and in a wider capacity, by adding value to our work in areas of both education and training and research and knowledge transfer.
  • Enhanced recruitment, retention, attainment and satisfaction from our international student body.
  • A growing international alumni community which engages positively with the University contributing to a sustainable and successful future.
  • Growth in the number of successful research collaborations (including publications, conference papers and other outputs involving authors from overseas universities).
  • Increase in the proportion of staff engaged in international collaboration; through visits to international partner universities and hosting visitors to Chester for collaborative work.
  • Growth in the number of applications made for grants to fund research involving staff from both University of Chester and overseas universities.
  • An increase in applications and recruitment to our Experiential Overseas Learning providers and further uptake and expansion of study abroad provision.
  • International and regional partnerships considered to be expected Faculty business.
  • The ability to consider and securely approve new international provision, within a timely manner, of initial expression of interest.
  • The growth of a pool of internationally experienced tutors, link tutors, and validation panel members.

Careers and Employability Statement of Service

Careers and Employability Statement of Service


  • Enabling Students - to enable University of Chester students to leave the University as employable, work-ready, self-aware graduates ready to progress to work or further study.
  • Delivering Services - to develop these qualities through delivery of a wide range of generic and subject-specific services delivered in Careers & Employability, through curricular/academic department content and extra-curricular programmes.
  • Engaging Employers - to generate employment opportunities at all levels through effective employer engagement.


We therefore have three main sets of stakeholders:

  • Students and graduates
  • Academic departments
  • Employers.

Defining Employability

Enabling students, at all levels of study, to leave as employable, work-ready, self-aware graduates.  Self-aware graduates requires us to forge a consensual view of what employability means with our stakeholders.   We define employability with reference to the following key themes, which are expressed in our Chester Difference Graduate Profile (CDGP); our framework for successfully developing graduate skills and attributes, which underpins how we work with all our stakeholders.


  • Specialist skills, e.g. laboratory work, software programming, musical composition, foreign language fluency
  • Transferable skills, e.g. administration, analysis, communication, customer service, delivering, establishing, evaluation, generating ideas, operating, problem-solving, project/people management, raising finance, researching, team-working and more specific skills within these categories
  • Careers skills, e.g. CV writing, job search, interview ability, self-presentation, sector research, entrepreneurship, career planning.


  • Academic knowledge and ability derived from the programme of study
  • Additional knowledge derived from other extra-curricular activities, such as volunteering, clubs and societies, employment experience.

General Attributes

  • Personal qualities, such as independence, imagination, positive attitude, resilience, self-management, autonomy, a ‘can do’ approach, openness to new ideas, drive and motivation, adaptability, confidence, enthusiasm.

Work-readiness Attributes

  • Including commercial awareness, world awareness, sector/industry awareness, flexibility, reliability, punctuality, professionalism, managing professional relationships.

Self-awareness and the ability to articulate

  • Employers need to see evidence from students and graduates that they can identify their skills, knowledge, attributes and work-readiness
  • They also need to see that students and graduates understand why all these factors are important in the workplace.

Expressing the degree experience

  • Being an employable graduate also means being able to identify and articulate what the student has gained specifically from their degree
  • A graduate job is one for which a degree is required: which means that there are tangible gains from the degree experience which the graduate will be able to apply in the workplace.

Delivering Services

Careers and Employability provides information, advice and guidance consultations using guidance expertise, specialist occupational knowledge and labour market information. Support is provided for all current students, across all campuses, and to recent graduates (up to three years after graduation). We work with our stakeholders to develop student employability through a combination of our own services and work within academic departments.

Our work within academic departments is embedded in curriculum content and includes:

  • Careers skills training
  • Career planning
  • Inductions and outductions
  • Presentation and interview practice and assessment
  • Embedding employability in activities and attitudes.

Self-awareness and our CDGP underpin our core activity and can be described as providing a career learning infrastructure to assist students to:

  1. Look for work
  2. Skill up for the future
  3. Plan for the future.

Careers and Employability help students and graduates to:

  • Look for work - find graduate jobs, part-time opportunities and paid internships (The Chester Internship Programme) via our CareerHub portal. We help with job applications and interviews, CV checking and interview skills through training and mock interviews. Students can also gain a job on campus with UniJob; our on-campus recruitment service, to undertake paid work at the University. Students and graduates can also attend fairs, talks and events delivered and facilitated by Careers and Employability, including our careers fair - Careers Fest and TEDxUoChester.
  • Skill up for the future - learn new skills for employment or self-employment through our Enhance Your Employability (E.Y.E) Training and Venture Programme. Students can work towards an employability award, The Chester Difference Award, and gain recognition for the skills they develop through extra-curricular activities. Final year students and graduates who are not fulfilling their career ambitions can access the Graduate Head Start Programme.
  • Plan for the future - know how to use their degree by attending a career guidance appointment to look at options and to start to develop a plan for their future. Students can also kick start their careers by attending an ASK (Ask questions, Shape Ideas, Kick start careers) to network with employers, in an informal environment, and learn from local industry professionals. Resources are available to provide students with the information they need to make the right decisions. This includes psychometric testing for those students and graduates applying to graduate schemes.

Employer Engagement

  • We generate opportunities for our students and graduates through:
  • Effective communication with employers about our students and graduates’ profiles and about their needs and expectations as an employer
  • Collaboration with employers on developing the right employment opportunities for their business, including graduate roles and internships and vacancy advertising on behalf of the employer
  • Engaging employers with the University employer and entrepreneurial communities
  • Adding value to the employer experience of working with Careers and Employability
  • Effective collaboration with other employer-facing departments across the wider University
  • Consultation with employers during the planning and validation of academic programmes.

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Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy


The Marketing Strategy is created cooperatively by the Department’s managers and exists to advance the University’s goals with respect to UK student recruitment, Outreach and Widening Participation activity by supporting the Corporate Strategy, the Business Plans of the Deans of Faculty and the aspirations of applicants and partner organisations. The plan has been devised to increase awareness of the university, to increase understanding of the university and to increase engagement with the university by meeting the following main objectives:

Reputation Management

We will:

  • strive to ensure that the University is recognised fully for the quality of its delivery and services in local and national markets
  • enhance the University’s reputation by managing its visual identity, key marketing messages and brand recognition consistently across all platforms to all potential stakeholders
  • continue to strengthen recruitment by promoting the University’s portfolio and encouraging applications to all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes
  • act as advocates for the University’s widening participation agenda, underpinning the University’s access agreement through activities and campaigns that encourage applications from key groups
  • offer a full schools and colleges liaison services to target schools and colleges of further education
  • serve as an exemplar for promotional activity across the institution, setting standards, and supporting with advice, guidelines and co-operation
  • comply with consumer protection law
  • comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Market Research

We will:

  • make evidence-based decisions underpinned by comprehensive qualitative and quantitative market research
  • manage change by being responsive to changes in markets and market conditions, and underpin all marketing plans and activities with a strong evidence base
  • ensure that we are market-informed, rather than simply market-led
  • systematically evaluate all marketing activity through reviews, feedback, scoping activities, data analysis, management information, surveys, web analytics and other diagnostic tools
  • be proactive in providing internal colleagues with a wide range of market intelligence and marketing support
  • offer advice, research and evidence to reinforce portfolio management
  • keep the University community informed of sector trends, current marketing thinking and promotional and customer relationship campaigns

Relationship Building

We will:

  • develop and undertake sustained relationship management campaigns with applicants, potential applicants and partner institutions that encourage applications and convert applicants into students
  • build on our relationship with our alumni to ensure that they remain strong advocates for the University as well as encouraging progression onto postgraduate and CPD programmes
  • provide websites, marketing materials, promotional campaigns and events that encourage target audiences to engage with the University and the University’s brand identity and values

Action Plan

Strategic Approach

Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions employ both ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ marketing practices, employing creative thinking, with a commitment to long term implementation, and providing a seamless client experience as well as a systemic link to the University’s planning efforts.

We employ a tone that is welcoming, confident, co-operative, engaging and inclusive. In keeping with the ethos of the University, we also have an approach that supports and guides our prospects and applicants through the application cycle.  We do not employ a sales-driven approach since this would not be appropriate to the nature of our business.

The output of all MRA recruitment and outreach work focuses on developing and adhering to a set of core messages that address the issues pertinent to prospective students while, at the same time, differentiating the University of Chester from other universities.

The core messages that we integrate across our entire communications mix are as follows:

  • the benefits of a university experience
  • demonstration of the aspects of our product that adds value to the student experience
  • an emphasis on the benefits that augment our courses and support services that enable our students to enhance their employability prospects
  • presentation of the unique aspects of the University’s delivery (differentiation)
  • value for money, with an advice driven approach as to the affordability of a University education
  • employability
  • risk reduction, highlighting why choosing Chester may be a sensible option

With these core messages in mind, there is also an emphasis on demonstrating what the University experience is really like.  In order to aid conversion and retention, it is important that we provide a means to make this whole experience more tangible and present a true and accurate representation of this experience. We use a variety of stakeholders real ‘voices’ to tell the University’s story.

Our core messages also emphasise personalisation, and focus on how the University of Chester gives our students the freedom and support to develop as individuals, enabling them to shape themselves into truly unique graduates that stand out in a fierce graduate job market.

An integrated marketing approach has been adopted in order to provide consistency across all marketing and recruitment channels, allowing the flexibility needed to keep up with the changing HE marketing landscape, and using the following integrated mix:

  • web-based
  • print
  • events
  • campaigns
  • image stock
  • social
  • digital
  • video
  • media advertising
  • personal interactions with stakeholders


Our CRM strategy serves as the mainstay of the plan and articulates the nature and timing of market touch points, articulating our primary target audiences and when and how we engage with them. These include prospective students, parents, schools, colleges of further education, alumni, faculty and the wider University community. The CRM timetable identifies the order and manner in which stakeholders are contacted as well as the information/messages that underpin the contact points, and is made available as a detailed document. It includes:

  • The identification and appropriate employment of integrated communication tools
  • The creation and management of the web-based collateral and associated campaigns
  • The creation and dissemination of the annual pre-applicant campaign
  • Digital-first campaigns
  • UCAS Fairs and events
  • Open Days
  • The production of the University’s annual Undergraduate and Postgraduate Prospectuses
  • Undergraduate and Postgraduate Applicant Days
  • Interview and audition days
  • Social media/networking
  • Online landscape
  • Management of the University’s WP and Schools and College Liaison activity
  • Web content management, web guidelines, web and content management support

Market Research Underpinning

All marketing and recruitment plans and activities are market-research driven, which means that strategies are grounded in continuous renewal and improvement. Understanding and “taking the pulse” of individual target audiences allows us to present the University of Chester brand in an authentic, consistent and distinct way and allows us to make evidence-based decisions. Market research activity includes:

  • MRA input into outline planning proposals to support portfolio management
  • Google analytics
  • Surveys, for example; Open Days, Applicant Days, Schools Liaison and WP activities
  • Prospect Student Panel
  • Decliners surveys
  • Applicants surveys
  • Analysis of UCAS management information: application numbers, gender, region of provenance, postal code analysis, qualifications, ethnicity and disability
  • Applicant tracking
  • Applicant feedback
  • Application trends
  • Competitor data
  • Tracking digital activity and response rates
  • Individual course market information

Benchmarking, Monitoring and Review

Tracking success is routinely undertaken throughout the market research process. The Department’s marketing section meets weekly to monitor and determine the effectiveness of the strategy and to review the delivery of University of Chester communications messages and asses on going plans and activities.

Plans are benchmarked and monitored through the use of:

  • Identity Guidelines
  • Toolkits
  • Web and other templates
  • Web champion training
  • Prospectus templates
  • A written CRM plan
  • Image stock library
  • Statistical analyses
  • The provision of advice, help, guidance and support for all University of Chester colleagues on promotional opportunities, markets, events and activities
  • The provision of advice, help, guidance, support and monitoring for University of Chester partners
  • Key Performance Indicators and targets

The Department’s Risk Register and table of Key Performance Indicators are updated each year in consultation with Departmental staff and have traditionally formed part of the Department’s annual business plan.

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Research Team

Research Team

The CEFAW Research Team is an interdisciplinary group of five researchers:

Dr Margaret Adam (Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Chester) is the project Postdoctoral Researcher.
Professor David Clough (Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Chester) is Principal Investigator for the project. 
Dr David Grumett (School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh) is a co-investigator on the project.
Dr Siobhan Mullan (School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol) is a co-investigator on the project.


Dr Paul Hurley (Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton) is an interdisciplinary researcher, artist and facilitator, who is consultant for the project on participatory research methods and engagement strategies.


Campaigns and Events Officer