Times Higher Student Experience Survey 2016

Just before we enter league table season, the THE kicks off with their Student Experience Survey results.

This year the top university is Loughborough, followed by our geographical neighbours, Harper Adams, and then Sheffield.

Here’s what the VC of Loughborough attributes the success to:

Robert Allison, vice-chancellor of Loughborough, says that coming first in this year’s student poll was “absolutely fantastic, as it recognises all the excellent things that staff and students are doing here”.

At the heart of Loughborough’s success is the ethos that students should work with staff to create a good university experience for everyone on campus, Allison says. “When people visit us on open days, I tell them that if they’re wondering if they’ll have a TV in their room, this probably isn’t the ­university for them.”

At Loughborough “you can really embed yourself in the university, and if you do, you will have all sorts of chances and opportunities”, he continues.

For instance, final-year students often partici­pate in a research project, while others take part in international secondments, such as those enjoyed by mechanical engineering students who have just returned from visiting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“If you have that desire to co-create your university experience, rather than just seeing yourself as someone who shows up for 10 weeks a term, it takes you to a different level as a student,” Allison says.

As always, this is a survey based on a very small sample size compared with NSS, but the outcomes are still interesting.

Staffordshire has risen 10 places to 78th this year. In terms of where we do well, we can look to see where our scores exceed the sector average:

  • helpful/interested staff
  • personal requirements catered for
  • good personal relationships with teaching staff
  • cheap shop/bar/amenities
  • tuition in small groups
  • fair workload

So as we might expect, we do well in the way we work with our students, and we know that Stoke in Trent is a relatively cheap city in which to be a student.

Areas where we seem to be falling behind are around social life, community atmosphere and environment on campus. Our ongoing investment in campus transformation should god a long way to address this, and by September 2016 when all of our computing, music, film and games students arrive onto the main redeveloped campus, we should find ourselves working in an even more lively environment.