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Ed Foster

Student Engagement Manager

PVC - Academic


Ed Foster is the Study Support Coordinator for the library. He has three inter-related areas of responsibility:

He heads a team who deliver a range of study services for students including workshops, one-to-one appointments and resources. These are delivered by a staff team and twenty student academic mentors.

In 2005, Ed launched the institutional Welcome Week and now coordinates its delivery. Welcome Week provides new students with a programme of over 350 events to help them acclimatise and make the transition to being part of the University community. It is delivered in conjunction with the Students’ Union. This work has improved student satisfaction with students’ early experiences of university, particularly amongst priority groups: mature, local and international students.

He leads research into student transition and retention and is a member of the University’s OFFA steering group, with responsibility for improving student retention. In 2012-13, this involved exploring the use of learning analytics to improve student retention.

Career overview

Ed previously worked in the Students’ Union, setting up a programme of transferable and employability workshops. He also managed the Student Advice Centre, Employment Store and Nurseries.

Ed was a part-time Ranger in the Peak District National Park between 2001 and 2009.

Research areas

Ed is currently engaged in research about students’ transition into higher education, factors associated with their retention and success. He is increasingly investigating notions of taking a rites of passage approach to students journey through higher education.

External activity

Between 2008 and 2011 Ed led the HERE Project in conjunction with Bournemouth and Bradford Universities as part of the Paul Hamlyn Fund / HEFCE project What Works? Student Retention and Success. The research project explored the impact of doubting and course teams on the decisions of students to withdraw or not.

Since then he has run a series of workshops on student retention for the Higher Education Academy. In 2011-12, these disseminated the findings from the HERE project and the other 6 partner projects involved in What Works?. In 2012-13, Ed facilitated a series of workshops for the What Works? change programme exploring induction, transition, learning for all, mentoring and pastoral support.

Between 2005 and 2010, Ed was a member of the Learnhigher CETL Steering group with particular responsibility for academic writing.

Ed is a member of the European First Year Experience Network steering group. He is a reviewer for the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.


FOSTER, E., LAWTHER, S., KEENAN, C., BATES, N., COLLEY, B. and LEFEVER, R. 2012. The HERE project toolkit: a resource for programme teams interested in improving student engagement and retention. Nottingham: Nottingham Trent University.

HARDY, C. and FOSTER, E., 2008. Other people's writing: peer mentoring for academic writing. In: NTU 10th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 'Inspiring Learning and Teaching in a Global Context. Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, 3 April 2008.

FOSTER, E., LAWTHER, S., LEFEVER, R., BATES, N., KEENAN, C. and COLLEY, B., 2012. HERE to stay? An exploration of student doubting, engagement and retention in three UK universities. In: I. SOLOMONIDES, A. REID and P. PETOCZ, eds, Engaging with Learning in Higher Education. UK: Libri Publishing, pp. 95-114.

Nottingham Trent University's Welcome Week: a sustained programme to improve early social and academic transition for new students In: J. ANDREWS, R. CLARK and L. THOMAS, eds, Compendium of effective practice in higher education retention and success UK: Aston University & the Higher Education Academy, pp. 27-31.

FOSTER, E., MCNEIL, J. and LAWTHER, S., 2011. Exploring new students' conceptions of engagement and feedback. In: L. CLOUDER, C. BROUGHAN, S. JEWELL and G. STEVENTON, eds, Improving Student Engagement and Development through Assessment: Theory and Practice in Higher Education. UK: Routledge.

FOSTER, E. and LEFEVER, R., 2011. Barriers and strategies for retaining male students. In: L. THOMAS and J. BERRY, eds, Male access & success in Higher Education: a discussion paper. York: Higher Education Academy, pp. 20-25.

FOSTER, E., LAWTHER, S. and MCNEIL, J., 2011. Learning Developers Supporting Early Student Transition. In: P. HARTLEY, J. HILSDON, C. KEENAN, S. SINFIELD and M. VERITY, eds, Learning Development in Higher Education. Great Britain: Palgrave Macmillan.

FOSTER, E., LAWTHER, S., KEENAN, C., BATES, N., COLLEY, B. and LEFEVER, R., 2011. The HERE Project Final Report.

FOSTER, E. and BRITTAIN, M., 2010. Flying Start End of Project Report: Shadowing at NTU.

FOSTER, E., LEES, M., O'NEILL, W. and LAWTHER, S., 2009. More than "Getting Smashed with Randomers" - Improving Student Induction, 13 - 15 May, 2009 2009.

PURNELL, S. and FOSTER, E., 2008. Transition and Engagement. In: L. HAND and C. BRYSON, eds, Student Engagement: SEDA Special 22. England: Staff & Educational Development Association

FOSTER, E., BELL, R. and AND SALZANO, S., 2008. "What's a Journal?" - Research into the Prior Learning Experiences of Students Entering Higher Education, 7 - 9 May 2008, 2008.

Lockley, E., Pritchard, C. & Foster, E., (2004), Students Supporting Students – lessons learnt from an environmental health peer support scheme, Journal of Environmental Health Research, Vol 2(3), pp.78-82

See all of Ed Foster's publications...

Press expertise

Students' Transition into university (induction, ice breakers,social integration and to a lesser extent homesickness)

Student retention – what factors lead students to leave, what we can do to help students remain in HE

General study support – what do students need to do in order to study effectively, cope with independent learning and manage their time in order to be successful