To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Whole system approaches to health in higher education: An evaluation of the UK Healthy Universities Network

Mark Dooris (School of Community Health and Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Alan Farrier (School of Community Health and Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Susan Powell (Department of Public Health, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)
Maxine Holt (Department of Public Health, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 14 June 2019

Issue publication date: 13 August 2019

917

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on an evaluation of the UK Healthy Universities Network (UKHUN), which explored engagement of network members; identified what members value about the network; examined facilitators and barriers to engagement; and informed the network’s future development.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was a two phase mixed-method study, with participants being staff from Higher Education institutions. Phase 1 involved a documentary review and an online 14-question survey (n=32). Phase 2 comprised follow-up semi-structured interviews and focus groups, conducted using Skype (n=11). These were audio recorded and transcripts were thematically analysed in a two-stage process.

Findings

A number of key themes emerged from the thematic analysis: value of network meetings and events; popularity of the network website; increased communication and collaboration; sense of leadership offered by the network; interest and inclusion of an international perspective; importance of institutional support.

Research limitations/implications

Only six universities who are involved in the network took part in Phase 2. Although a range of organisations were chosen purposively, it is possible that additional key issues at other universities were excluded.

Originality/value

The UKHUN is valued by its membership, particularly its biannual meetings, online presence, leadership, ethos and communication methods. Key barriers include the capacity of staff to attend meetings and contribute to the network, influenced by a lack of institutional commitment and prioritisation. Findings from the evaluation have informed a “refresh” of the network’s website and a revision of its membership structure, as well as guiding its positioning to achieve greater strategic influence.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Citation

Dooris, M., Farrier, A., Powell, S. and Holt, M. (2019), "Whole system approaches to health in higher education: An evaluation of the UK Healthy Universities Network", Health Education, Vol. 119 No. 4, pp. 246-258. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-02-2019-0010

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles