Updating our community on the Students’ Union Top Ten 2023/24

Posted in: community, engagement, student voice, students' union

Since taking on my role as PVC Student Experience, one of the things that has brought me the most satisfaction is the collaborative nature of our work with the Students’ Union to ensure an excellent student experience at Bath.

In this joint vlog with the SU President, Jimena Alamo, we are interviewed about one of the mechanisms we use for collaborative working: the SU Top Ten. At the start of every academic year, the SU Officers create ten priorities that have come from listening to the views of our students and their Officer election manifestos.

Find out how we work together to tackle these issues in the video.

Thank you to all my colleagues at the university and the SU for your hard work over the last 10 months to help tackle this year’s set of issues and for all your ongoing contributions. As we reflected in the video, much of the progress and work carries on beyond the current academic year.

Below is a very brief snapshot of some of the progress made against the SU Top Ten issues in 2023/24:

  1. Ensure safer sport through developing match day medic schemes.
  • Enhanced communications to societies to raise awareness and knowledge
  • Collated feedback from students on their experiences and what they would like to see change
  • Discussions with the Sports department around pressures on a Wednesday afternoon and what developments could help.
  1. Develop a range of activities to reduce isolation and improve overall experience for PGT students.
  • Agreed to focus on online/distance learner PGT student experience
  • Evaluated outcomes from last year’s PTES and considered a series of recommendations
  • Contributed to a new Online MSc Courses Survey, launched in 2024, to help inform future strategies for improving the student experience for this cohort
  • Online Directors of Studies Forum meets regularly and will share best practice around online student experience
  1. Increase the range of inclusive study spaces that meet the needs of all students.
  • New sensory space opened in the Library, and Polden Commons made available for student use during revision/ assessment periods
  • Spaces in Virgil Building, vacated by Careers, redeployed for bookable student study space
  • Independent Learning Environment Project undertaken by the Library exploring the relationship between the Library and other independent learning spaces at the University. Will help inform future space strategies and helped inform plans for Virgil Building
  1. Ensure that all students can easily access recordings of all their lectures throughout the year.
  • Examined data from Panopto
  • Disability Service participated in a national ‘Disabled Students UK’ (DSUK) survey to provide the University and SU with better data insights to help inform the next steps around Disability Access Plans (including lecture recordings)
  • Ensured student representation on a new DDaT user group for learning technologies (to include those used for lecture capture/asynchronous digital learning)
  • Collated discrete issues relating to lecture recordings, as well as reports from the SU Academic Council
  1. Ensure that students receive constructive assessment feedback that helps them improve.
  • Ongoing priority for the PVC Education & Global, with dedicated resources in CLT and the Faculties/the School.
  • Incorporated within the Education Annual Review & Enhancement process.
  • All Faculties/the School have recruited Assessment & Feedback leads this academic year.
  • Development of ‘Pedagogy and Assessment Strategy’ within the School of Management.
  • Teaching Development Fund (TDF) approved in HSS, focusing specifically on A&F.
  1. Develop doctoral professional development through work-based opportunities.
  • January’s University Doctoral Studies Committee (UDSC) meeting was themed around skills, development and employability with two reports presented and SU representatives in attendance. April’s SU Doctoral Lunch themed around placements and employability.
  • The Doctoral Skills programme has been reviewed and strengthened for the next academic year following feedback.
  • Examined PRES and PDES survey outcomes concerning this issue, and engagement undertaken with doctoral students to understand how they are using different services/provisions.
  • PGR Careers Lead is now part of the new doctoral induction “welcome workshop” series.
  1. Develop a housing strategy covering both University managed and private accommodation.
  • Research undertaken by SU with students on the quality of private housing in Bath.
  • Campus Services convening a workshop with the SU to examine findings of research, focused on three key themes: availability, quality, and affordability of housing.
  • Ongoing work with B&NES Council, Bath Spa and key local stakeholders on ways to support the development of affordable purpose-built student accommodation.
  1. Pilot early move in and arrivals week for new international students.
  • Agreed to pilot an early arrival event for new UG international students in 2024.
  • Plans to be a residential type programme with workshops/practical support in the daytime and social mixing in the evenings, with a charge to students.
  • The pilot will be evaluated and reviewed in late 2024.
  1. Ensure all students have access to a financial safety net when needed, through a range of accessible scholarships, bursaries, hardship funds and other support.
  • Student Support led on review of financial package communications with SU and Communications colleagues, with various changes subsequently implemented.
  • Review of scholarships for international students begun by the Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions.
  • Student Living completed a guarantor scheme benchmarking exercise indicating we offer a similar service to most HEIs.
  • Implemented clearer signposting to Hardship Funds concerning housing guarantor scheme fee support.
  1. Working with First Bus to develop an accurate GPS service and live capacity information to keep students informed.
  • First Bus confirmed plans for updating all GPS devices in 2024
  • Planning focus group / secret shopper with students to provide First bus with feedback on GPS service.

Read my previous blogs here: Professor Cassie Wilson (bath.ac.uk)

Contact me at pro-vc-se@bath.ac.uk to ask questions, or request future topics you'd like to hear about.

Posted in: community, engagement, student voice, students' union

Visit the SU website for more information about the Top Ten


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