The idea of RAISE really emerged in informal discussions at the 2009 European First Year Conference between a group of enthusiastic colleagues when Colin Bryson made the suggestion that we had our very own network on student engagement instead of just meeting randomly at conferences or exchanging emails. It did not have a name at that time (it was Colin’s 16 year old daughter that created that), but it was just an idea.
A few months later four of us met to plan a first meeting and in May, 2010 we held a one day symposium in Nottingham with the ambitious agenda of developing a definition and conceptual framework for student engagement, as well a basis for how our network could operate. We created the web-site and held the first conference in 2011; largely thanks to the hard work of a handful of people, Colin, Christine Hardy, Grace Barker and Julie Wintrup.
The following year the network became an organisation with formal constitution and officers. We have continued with annual conferences. These have now grown in scale as has RAISE. In 2013 special interest groups (SIGS) were created and this is already leading to a rather larger number of events to add to the conference and seminars RAISE has held. A particular feature of RAISE is the direct involvement of current students. They contribute to, and participate in all the events, in ways and numbers that no other scholarly networks have ever done before. We merged with the Student Learning and Teaching Network (set up by CETL student interns) in 2014 to further cement our credibility as reflecting the voice of students and staff.