The UEA Student Experience

We love UEA but we constantly work to make UEA even better. So as well as having a plan for our own organisation, we have a plan for improving the student experience. 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. The University will also have to implement the new Teaching Excellent Framework in coming years and students will need a counterbalance to the unhelpful consumer ideology it represents.

Our ambitions:

This is where we want to be by 2019

  • 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.

The year ahead

This is what we’ll do to get there in 2016-17

  • We’ll deliver two major student experience projects- a review of the placement experience for students across UEA to improve experience and support, and a major piece of work on the cost of living for UEA students, researching income and expenditure and campaigning to reduce costs on everything from lab coats to printing to accommodation.
  • We’ll work in partnership with the University on space, ensuring student focussed outcomes in the refurbishment of the campus and working together to create temporary social learning space as the campus expands in coming years.
  • We’ll bring together work on academic values and student led teaching awards to launch a major piece of work on students as academic partners, working with NUS and other unions to forge a meaningful counter-narrative to the reductive consumer model of the TEF, ensuring an academic society in every school and enhancing the student learning experience with a focus on driving innovation, use of technology and added academic value.
  • We’ll work with the University to launch a major new mental health and anxiety strategy on campus and work with the Vice Chancellor to become an exemplar implementation campus once recommendations from the UUK taskforce on sexual harassment and violence are launched, taking “Never OK” and “Good Night Out” into the city.
  • We’ll be at the forefront of a new City wide student housing strategy, seeing off damaging HMO regulation, driving up standards and ethics, and driving down costs for students

And then we’ll go further:

  • We’ll develop a new strategic partnership with NUA, NCC 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 pressure the University to set out plans on some of its ‘wicked’ problems- like assessment and feedback quality, organisation and management of courses via hubs (especially in HSC) and careers support, and we’ll work with the University to address student participation and success gaps within schools and programmes.
  • We’ll investigate “onboarding” and transition programmes for new students that tackle academic skills and culture gaps faced by new students- especially those from outside of the UK.

The impact

  • By July 2020, the University will be in the Top 10 in the NSS for organisation and management, assessment and feedback and academic support.
  • 70% of students will report that the SU has had a positive impact on the student experience delivered by UEA.
  • UEA will retain its top 5 status for Student Experience in all the major tables.