Help share the student experience

November 2nd, 2014

Giving students the opportunity to share the richness of their experience at university is more important than ever.

Rising fees are putting more emphasis on excellence in teaching, resources and experience. Increased attendances at university open days also suggest prospective students are becoming more discerning.

These changes have been reflected in the introduction of Key Information Sets (KIS), a national standard to help prospective students make an informed decision when choosing a university course.

As KIS include data from the National Student Survey (NSS), how the university experience is rated by students is becoming increasingly important.

To reflect this, the University has targeted an overall satisfaction score of 90% in the NSS and a top 20 place in each question area by 2015.

While results are improving, with satisfaction reaching 88% among final year undergraduates, more needs to be done if the University is to rise from its current NSS position of 39th overall.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for teaching and learning, Professor Alan Ford, who is overseeing the University’s ambitions for excellence in the survey, says school staff have a vital role in ensuring that students take part.

He said: “Schools across the University have a clear commitment to educational excellence; obtaining and responding to students’ views is an important means of achieving excellence and thereby meeting schools’ educational aims. With ever greater competition amongst universities for the best applicants, being able to demonstrate that courses and their delivery are tailored to students’ requirements can also be vital in attracting the number and quality of students schools need to fulfil their overall academic ambitions.

“The increased improvement seen in 2012 is a tribute to the efforts of academic and support staff to meet the needs of students and to enhance their University experience. These efforts must continue and this year we are looking to raise significantly the level of support for students in their academic skills development, review assessment practices and feedback, while continuing to invest extensively in IT and teaching spaces.

“There is more to high-quality education than is measured by levels of satisfaction — not least maintaining the highest education standards, providing rigorous intellectual challenges and gearing education to the wider needs of society. Achieving strong and rising levels of student satisfaction through listening to our students and adapting our practices is an important means of producing educational excellence.”

Schools will be kept up to date with response rates after the survey starts in late January and will be provided with examples of best practice to help them promote the survey. For more information, email:

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