More on Sustainability and the National Student Survey

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I've written before about attempts to shoe-horn a focus on sustainability into the UK's influential National Student Survey [NSS] question set, and I've usually been rather dismissive of any likelihood of this coming to pass.  Well, it seems I was right, and wrong.

The UK funding bodies are currently reviewing the NSS.  They are considering making changes to the survey’s optional question banks, and it is here that sustainability (or "environmental sustainability" as HEFCE now has to call it to keep its CEO sweet) has been raised as a potential area.  These optional banks are not part of the core survey and getting questions included isn’t a foregone conclusion as there are bound to be lots of other areas scrabbling for inclusion – ICT springs to mind.

None of it will get reported publicly, so you have to wonder what's the point.  However, if this is going to happen, I think questions ought to be about how a student's time at the university has influenced them, and how they feel prepared for the next stage of their career (and life).  Because of this, I'd focus on outcomes, rather than seeking opinions about infrastructure and community-engagement, etc, or reflections about opportunities for getting involved.

So, how about these ...

  • My university experience has enabled me to learn in depth about sustainability issues
  • Because of this, I now understand the significance of sustainability to the future well-being of humanity
  • As a result, I now want to act on sustainability issues through my work and life


Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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  • I heard about these optional questions a while back and have been wondering when they might appear.. Do we know if they are likely to be in the NSS this summer? Yet another marketised instrument of HE (potentially) being used to drive the sustainability agenda..