Think different – the key to inspiring student success

Updated: Jun 22, 2018

Fostering the right university culture should be your first step to engaging and inspiring students. But where to start? Adam Campbell from ME+ considers the role university staff can play in sparking career success.

Let’s be honest. Any image of fresh-faced, eager learners hanging on your every word is quickly shattered the minute you hold your first lecture. Add in an endless treadmill of timetabling, student recruitment, organisational change, and the pressure of the REF, TEF and every other EF-ing thing, and it’s easy to see how even the most resilient among us can lapse into going through the motions.

Yet some still appear well equipped to inspire and engage their students. It’s a success that appears to stem from something more than just capability – it’s a personal purpose, mindset and behaviour. A purpose to make a difference through knowledge and learning. A mindset focused on creating an engaging learning environment. And behaviours that nurture strong relationships with, and a personal learning experience for, students.

If you’re one of these inspirational peda-gods, well done. For the rest of us, what can be done to better enable student success at university and beyond? The answer is a change of purpose, mindset and behaviour – or what you might call your ‘culture’.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”

-Peter Drucker

As the experts behind ME+, we at Telos help organisational leaders from all walks of life foster and sustain success. And the steps to creating the right culture are universal:

  • Understand and measure your culture

  • Identify the behaviours you need to enable success

  • Recruit, develop and retain the right people – focus on behaviours

  • Take advantage of real-life role models

  • Lead by example

To start considering your own university’s current culture, ask yourself:

  • Should culture occupy greater time on the university leadership agenda?

  • What are you doing to strike the right balance of research, enterprise and teaching to enable student success?

  • What are the barriers to creating the right mindset?

  • What successes are you having that you’d like to share with others?

Your answers should help build a picture of where your culture needs to be. Try and think of five simple things that need to happen to get you there. If you need a handy way to track your progress, try our free ME+ app.

We understand culture change is no small thing. If you’d like to talk through any of the issues we’ve raised, get in touch today.

This blog post was written by the career experts behind ME+ (the career management app from Telos Partners). ME+ is free for individual students. See what ME+ can do for universities at

This is the second in our blog series on Developing Student Employability.

Previously: Improving graduate employability – what are you doing about it?

Next: How can universities do more to help student success?