Student Experience Strategy

Making UEA even better

Our role

As well as having a plan for our own organisation, as the representative body of students we have a plan for improving the Student Experience at UEA. Every year we pass new policies and elect new student officers that will run individual projects and campaigns on the student experience- but these represent our longer, strategic priorities for improving the student experience at UEA.

The Context

The University’s Vision says that students will have “heightened student expectations - as students are increasingly likely to demand the best choice, value and highest quality. They will review and share accordingly”. They’re right. UEA has some student experiences issues it needs to fix, needs to be ready to tackle the looming cost of living crisis that will bite during the life of this plan, and needs a plan to retain and improve its league table positions. Although UEA is a TEF Gold institution, NSS tells us that there are problems that need fixing (especially on assessment and feedback), and the University will also have to respond to student contracts and implement (at subject level) the Teaching Excellent Framework in coming years- students will need to know their rights (and how to enforce them) and will need a counterbalance to individualism, consumerism and an over-reliance on league tables and metrics.

Our ambitions:

  • Students and academics will co-create to produce the most effective and inspiring education. We’ll be renowned for learning and teaching excellence.
  • The University will meet, not manage, changing expectations – and it will give today’s students what they need to develop the advanced knowledge, expertise and life skills international employers demand.
  • The University will offer innovative and outstanding student support that understands deeply the student learning experience of today’s students.

In 2016-17

  • We delivered three major student experience projects- a review of the experience of associate tutors at UEA, a review of the placement experience for students to improve experience and support, and a student experience report covering everything from teaching and learning to timetabling.
  • We secured over 50 wins for students, (including a major increase in Library study space, more resources for trained people and better processes when/if students report or disclose sexual harassment/assault and ensuring the library bus more e-books to make sure that core texts available). We also lobbied for and agreed a new UEA wide mental health plan for students.

In 2017-18

  • We’ll pressure UEA to implement and fund a major new institution-wide mental health and wellbeing strategy on campus- and we’ll work with the Vice Chancellor to become an exemplar implementation campus from the UUK taskforce on sexual harassment and violence, taking “Never OK” and “Good Night Out” into the city through a new community partnership.
  • We’ll work with other SUs to conduct and launch research into student attitudes to teaching excellence, lobby the new OfS to recognise the power of student representation, and work with the Uni executive to ensure subject level TEF prep drives positive change- insisting on dramatic and rapid action when it comes to assessment and feedback improvement.
  • We’ll be relentless in our pursuit of suitable facilities for students on campus as student numbers expand- ensuring student focussed outcomes in the refurbishment of the campus, working together to create temporary social learning space as the student body expands and holding the University’s feet to the fire on suitability of teaching and learning spaces, timetabling and social space.
  • We’ll collaborate with NUS to tackle student financial support- delivering research into the day to day costs faced by students and calling for a University wide approach to consultation on fees and charges. And we’ll develop a clearer agenda on employability- calling for better career links in schools, a joined up approach on extra-curricular and a new University wide career opportunities programme.
  • We’ll strengthen the student-academic partnership within a new Student Charter, focussing on driving innovation, use of technology and added academic value, and we’ll secure a new UEA wide standard on involvement of and consultation with students about its services.

In 2018-20 we’ll go further:

  • We’ll develop a new strategic partnership with Norwich University of the Arts, City College Norwich,, Easton & Otley and UEA on the Norwich student experience, ensuring that the City develops to further enhance being a student at UEA.
  • We’ll secure a strategic review of the “non academic” student experience on campus, improving proactive/preventative work, looking in detail at respective roles and examining new methods of delivery like peer support.
  • We’ll investigate “onboarding” and transition programmes for new students that tackle academic skills, life skills and culture gaps faced by new students- especially those from outside of the UK- tackling the issue of the structure of the academic year in the process.

The impact

  • The University will be in the Top 10 in the NSS for organisation and management, assessment and feedback and academic support (NOW O&M 49th, A&F 113th, AS 42nd)[1]
  • 70% of students will report that the SU has had a positive impact on the student experience delivered by UEA (NOW 64.03%)[2]
  • UEA will retain its top 20 status in all the major tables (NOW Guardian 18th, Complete Uni Guide 12th, THE Table of Tables 16th, THE Student Experience 15th)

[1] NSS 2016. Includes whole market.

[2] UEASU Annual Survey 2017. Note 20% on the fence.