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As a national benchmark for teaching excellence and academic interests, the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) give us an insight into how students view their academic experience throughout their degree programme. Every year, final year students answer 27 questions which rate not only the teaching they have had, but also the impact we, as a Union, have had on their academic interests.
This year, we have unfortunately seen a dip in results with 50% of respondents saying we effectively represent their academic interests, a drop of 3% from last year. As a Union, we recognised over two years ago that this was an area that needed more focus and it prompted us to make several key changes that we have since implemented.
This academic year, the role of VP Education was elected for the first time, putting your education front and centre in our minds. We also undertook a review of our course rep system to ensure that there are systems in place to make positive changes to your education where needed.
This year, the College have also seen a dip in results, with 87% satisfaction overall (a drop of 0.8%). Despite the slight fall, this result was 4% above the sector average and largely seen as a success. However, we recognise that there are key messages portrayed in the negative trajectory of the results, and we will be working with the University to put plans for improvement in place.
Reflecting on the results, VP Education, Jack O’Neill, said:
“The NSS results illustrate the nature of our long-term plans in furthering your educational experience at Royal Holloway and the work we still have to do in order to fully achieve this. With the major developments over the last academic year – the introduction of a dedicated Sabbatical Officer to champion your academic interests and the consultation of the Academic Review – the Union is on a pathway to effectively representing your academic interests."
"In the upcoming academic year I am confident that the implementations that are underway will help us to better represent and promote your academic interests. This year we are creating a new full-time staff position dedicated to the course rep system as well as implementing the first stages from the Academic Review."
"I will also be looking into providing greater support for academic societies - an integral part of academic and social life at university - in addition to considering assessment patterns and the diversification of assessment methods."
"We recognise, in response to these results, that we need to ensure continuation with these developments, as well as encouraging the College to effectively represent and provide the educational experience you deserve. These results should be seen as a key stepping stone in achieving the outcomes that matter most to you and I am looking forward to working alongside you to achieve this.”
This year, as well as implementing the large number of recommendations from the academic representation review, you will see a new staff role, Course Rep Coordinator, introduced to the Union, who will be dedicated to full-time support of our elected Course Reps, ensuring their effectiveness and ability to make positive changes for you.
We’ll also be working with the College on several key issues, including the ongoing discussion about closing the attainment gap between BAME and non-BAME students, to ensure that we are better equipped as a Union to represent your academic interests in the future.
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