The 2015 NSS results have just been publicly released. These are standardised surveys of current students, held at every University in the country, and which feed into things like league tables. We are pleased to report that … our students are pleased! Overall satisfaction is above 90%, as likewise is the satisfaction with our teaching. Compared with English and Creative Writing departments around the country, we are ahead of the pack in five out of eight indicators.
This morning the results of the ‘Research Excellence Framework’ for 2014 were released. The REF is a survey and evaluation of research production across all universities in the UK. The work done by us in English and Creative writing was entered as part of a broad, interdisciplinary package in ‘Unit of Assessment’ 36 (which included also philosophy and the social sciences). The results are a very welcome Christmas present!
To be sure, slightly disappointing was the ‘impact’ score, a measure of to what extent our work has changed public opinion or behaviours. This was a new measure this time around, and clearly we have more to learn about how to present our theoretical/ historical work in the best light.
Apart from that, though, there was great news. Not only was the vast majority of our work judged to be of international standing, but we were praised too for the environment we have crafted here to encourage further work, and bring on young researchers, including doctoral students. Well done, everyone!
Catherine Burgass presented her paper ‘Pits, Pots and Poets’ on regional writing and Stoke’s literary heritage to a sell-out crowd at the inaugural Stoke Literary Festival (21st June). Organised by Emma Bridgewater and Tristram Hunt MP, other speakers included the ‘aga saga’ novelist Joanna Trollope and leading cultural commentator Melvyn Bragg. (Catherine’s daughter Eleanor won a short-story prize in the associated ‘Too Write’ competition.)