Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey

Today the THE Student Experience Survey was published.

This does rely on a fairly small sample size of students – just over 100 for our institution – so does not provide the level of detail or accuracy that the NSS provides. From the article:

The survey was based on the views of 12,000 students across the country, taken between October 2011 and July 2012. Participants were asked to rate their institution, based on a seven-point scale, against 21 criteria, ranging from campus environment and student welfare to helpfulness of staff and class sizes.

Despite increased movement in the table, in 2012 the methodology remained the same as in previous years. Although the total number of students sampled decreased, as in previous years the number of institutions each returning more than 100 responses, a more useful figure for survey accuracy, increased slightly.

At the top of the table is University of East Anglia.

Staffordshire University has moved from 74th to 60th.

Areas in which we scored well:

  • helpful and interested staff
  • good library and library opening hours
  • cheap shop/bar/amenities

Where SU did less well:

  • good social life
  • good accommodation

We don’t score great on the final question of “I would recommend my university to a friend”.

The biggest rise however is for University of Chester, and it might be useful to look at the reasons that they cite;

Chester’s vice-chancellor, Tim Wheeler, explains this as the result of a concerted effort to address student concerns which began four years ago and is now bearing fruit.

This has included spending £600,000 refurbishing the refectory, around £3 million overhauling the university’s learning resources centre and another £1 million on sports facilities, he says.

One of the biggest improvements in its scores, however, came in the measure of “good industry connections”, an indicator that might receive greater student focus in today’s struggling jobs market.

As well as a university jobs scheme and “boot camp” for young entrepreneurs, the majority of Chester second years do a compulsory work- based learning module at one of about 1,500 employers, says Wheeler. “We place students in internships all over the world,” he adds.

So the learning for us might be to really focus on our Staffordshire Graduate implementation, and make it a bit more of a fun place for students to live and play!