Student Voice Report: Representing your academic interests!

Every academic year, we take everything that you tell us about studying and researching at Birmingham and use it to create our annual Student Voice Report. The Report outlines your feedback on the quality of teaching and learning at Birmingham, and makes a number of recommendations to the University aimed at tackling the issues you’ve raised. This is a key part of the Guild’s work to represent your academic interests at Birmingham and to make sure that we’re standing up for you on the issues that matter the most.

The Student Voice Report 2017 outlines some of the most significant learning and teaching issues currently facing UoB students and makes recommendations in the following areas:

  • Tackling the Black and Minority Ethnic Attainment Gap – there’s currently a 21% difference between White and Black students achieving a 1st class degree at Birmingham. We’ve asked the University to enhance the diversity of our curriculum, develop effective strategies and practices to address student success and partner with students to achieve the Race Equality Charter Mark.
  • Assessment and Feedback – you’ve told is this a key area of concern for you, so we’ve kept this as a priority in this year’s report. We’re asking the University to ensure that all assessments are submitted – and feedback is given – online, that more consideration is given to different methods of feedback and assessment and that the University are transparent and communicate with you when makes changes in this area.
  • Improving the experience of Postgraduate Researchers – key concerns were raised by PhD students and other postgrad researchers this year regarding their experience at Birmingham. We’re asking UoB to work on the research culture on campus, to give extra support to part-time and distance learning PhD students and to give Postgraduate Teaching Assistants consistent support across the institution.
  • Study Space – last year, we received a number of Your Ideas submissions from you about study space and the new Library. This year, we’re asking the University to increase the number of individual computer spaces, improve study space signage and create a study space resource, so you can find a place to work on campus.
  • Postgraduate Mental Health – a 1/3 of postgrad researchers and 22% of taught postgrads reported in 2017 that their course had a negative impact on their mental health.  As an immediate priority, we want the University to let postgrads know that they can access Birmingham’s Counselling and Wellbeing team and to commit further resource to understanding this growing problem.
  • Using digital enhancements properly  - we want to make sure that digital enhancements – like Canvas and Panopto – are used to improve your education in way that are ambitious and sector-leading. This needs to be backed up with work on fundamental infrastructure issues, like improving campus WiFi.
  • Improving operational practices – through Guild Advice, we’ve found out that some of you aren’t receiving the support you need if you take a Leave of Absence or if you have to attend an academic appeal. We’re asking the University to improve their Codes of Practice, to make sure you get the support you need.

You can read all of our recommendations – and the Student Voice Report 2017 in full – here.

Over the course of the year, we’ll be working with the University to make the changes you want to see happen, through University Committees and the Student Rep System. We’ll keep you up to date with what we’ve achieved and our plans moving forward, so you know how we’re working to represent you.

Want to find out more? You can email Rose, your Postgraduate Officer, on postgraduate@guild.bham.ac.uk or Adam, your Education Officer, via education@guild.bham.ac.uk

 

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