Students as a part of the academic community
Students at Russell Group universities are active participants in their own learning and the experience available to others. From acting on student feedback to involving them in changing the curriculum and university governance, Russell Group universities go a long way to ensuring students are a part of the academic community.
At the University of Southampton, student feedback is collected in a variety of ways, including internal and external surveys. The University has also commissioned the Students in Free Enterprise society (SIFE) to gather in-depth feedback via focus groups and interviews with students at all levels of study. Results from this project and other findings are systematically reported to students, including any actions taken in response to feedback.
Along with the more traditional ways of gathering student feedback, our universities are increasingly making use of other tools, such as electronic voting systems, to gather immediate responses from students. Up to the end of 2013, over 100 lecturers and 2,400 students at the University of Edinburgh have used handheld response systems (clickers) to promote interactive engagement and to identify further ways to improve the learning experience.
The University of Manchester’s student charter, which is jointly signed by the Vice-Chancellor and General Secretary of the Students’ Union, covers the learning experience, personal and academic development, communication, mutual respect and being part of the local community. It also defines shared commitments and expectations of the roles that will be played by students and the university.
At the University of Exeter, the Students as Change Agents initiative provides a framework for students to be actively involved in the development, running and advancement of the university. Students identify a part of their university experience that could be improved and then carry out research on how best to make an improvement. The solution they propose is ideally implemented, or at least considered, by the university.