Thanks to the NUS, there is now an optional bank of questions on sustainability in the UK's National Student Survey [NSS]. It has taken five years or so to get them there, and they have changed a bit on their journey (see my earlier blog for some background to this). Jamie Agombar said he assumes that these changes arose from testing with students and the funding council’s consultation survey on this a few years back. NUS sees having questions on sustainability in the NSS as a helpful way of mainstreaming the agenda in institution and it has to be right about that.
Institutions need to select 6 of these 13 optional banks, although data from them will only be fed back to each institution, rather than published nationally which, while understandable, is a pity.
The sustainability questions are:
- My institution encourages good environmental practice
- My course has encouraged me to think about environmental sustainability
- I have had opportunities to take part in activities supporting environmental sustainability
As a set of questions these have a lot going for them as they cover institutional practice, the student experience of courses and student participation. Personally, I'd have liked a further question; something like:
- My institution's senior leadership really understands the crucial role that HE has to play in working towards a more sustainable world
What would your 4th question be?