This paper, while conceptual in nature, is informed by both research and practice. Exploring the “engagement interface” as the site for student engagement (SE), we offer a conceptual contribution in engaging with the Kahu and Nelson (2018) model by bringing in a fuller understanding of SE grounded in the higher education context rather than being uncritically transplanted from a compulsory education context. This involves consideration of the multiple facets of SE as well as the dynamic, shifting and multilocal nature of the construct. The paper then proceeds to enhance the details of the model, grounding them in a finer-grained reading of the literature and relating educational constructs to the model’s proposed “mechanisms” in a conceptually substantiated way. This further extends Kahu and Nelson’s aim of illuminating the “black box” of SE. Our third contribution is to practice by proposing tactics: informed by the literature, we invite practitioners to consider ways in which they can increase the likelihood of facilitating engagement with, and by, students more constructively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-777
Number of pages17
JournalHigher Education
Issue number4
Early online date11 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


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