Encouraging student engagement
Student engagement is about empowering students to be active partners in their education. A highly engaged student community helps us to continually improve and develop our learning and teaching. Student feedback and opinions help us to monitor and improve the learning and teaching experience here at Bath, and inform University strategy.
There are a number of ways that staff can encourage and promote student engagement.
The SU Bath organises elections at the start of each academic year for students to nominate and vote for their Academic Rep. Reps ensure that student concerns, views and opinions are heard and acted upon by the University and The SU Bath in partnership.
If you would like to encourage your students to think about becoming an Academic Rep, please direct them to the Academic Rep Elections page www.thesubath.com/academicreps/elections to find out more.
Staff Student Liaison Committees (SSLCs)
SSLCs are the main official channel for communication between staff and students.
- All departments have at least one SSLC to represent the interests of taught students.
- Each Faculty and the School of Management have a separate SSLC for research students.
- SSLCs are attended by staff and students (who are known as Academic Reps). Meetings are an opportunity for students to set the agenda for their course experience and raise concerns, views and opinions about learning and teaching.
- SSLCs may be chaired by a member of staff or a student (Academic Rep). This varies from department to department.
Contact the Student Engagement team if you would like further information about SSLCs.
Find out how to submit SSLC agendas and minutes.
For further information about how the University and The SU Bath support SSLCs, see our Code of Practice QA48.
Student Change Projects
You can encourage your students to take the lead on a Student Change Project to improve or fill a gap in provision, and make some of the changes suggested in student feedback. This scheme gives students the opportunity to run a self-contained project to directly impact change at the University.
Student Change Projects could be anything related to one or more strategic priorities for the institution:
- Assessment & Feedback
- Blended Learning
- Accessibility of Learning/Assessment
- Student Skills
- Digital skills
- Use of technology
- Developing a sense of community within departments, faculties and across discipline areas
- Decolonising the curriculum
- Research culture
- Climate emergency
It is also an opportunity for students to develop professional skills such as leadership, project management and research skills.
Student Change Projects are supported by an Operations Group comprising of colleagues from The SU Bath, the Doctoral College, the Faculties and the School of Management as well as the Student Engagement team in CLT.
If you would like to promote the scheme to your students, please direct them to our Student Change Projects web page where they can find out more.
Annual student surveys (NSS, PTES and PRES)
Student surveys for the 2022/23 academic year were open from February until May 2023 but are now closed. Find out more about the 2023 survey campaign.
Each year the University asks all students to provide feedback about the student experience. Surveys are organised during the second semester. Students are asked to complete the relevant survey for their level and year of study:
- NSS (National Student Survey) for final year undergraduate students
- PTES (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey) for taught postgraduate students
- PRES (Postgraduate Research Experience Survey) for doctoral students (runs biennially)
- PDES (Professional Doctorate Experience Survey) for professional doctoral students (runs biennially)
We greatly appreciate the role that our academics and teaching staff play in achieving high response rates. When surveys are open, please remind your students about the surveys during teaching sessions, by email and via any other communication channels that you regularly use to contact students. Please reassure students of the value of their feedback. This is their opportunity to provide their views about what they think the University does well, and areas where they think we could improve. Students' comments should be constructive and in line with the University Dignity and Respect Policy.
These surveys provide valuable data that help the University to monitor student satisfaction, assist with quality assurance and provide information to prospective applicants.
Contact the Student Engagement team if you would like further information.
Data from past surveys can be found on the Surveys Data wiki page.
Each semester the University asks all students to complete unit evaluations about their course. This is an opportunity for students to provide anonymous feedback about curriculum, teaching and assessment. Students' comments should be constructive and in line with the University Dignity and Respect Policy and Procedure.
See our guide for staff to find out more about unit evaluations, including survey dates, questions for the survey, encouraging constructive feedback, and sharing results with students.
Closing the feedback loop
As part of developing a culture of student engagement, it is important to inform students about any changes that have been made in response to their feedback.
"Thanks to your feedback, we decided to..."
This helps to reiterate the value of completing surveys and providing feedback via other forums, and can encourage students to become more involved as active partners.
There are a number of ways that you can update students about changes that have been made to learning and teaching, student services and campus facilities in response to their feedback. For example:
- Include a standing item in SSLCs about changes made in response to student feedback
- At the start of each academic year, inform the new Academic Reps about changes that have been made in previous years in response to student engagement activities
- Update your departmental Moodle page with details of any changes that you have made to learning, teaching and assessment in response to unit evaluations and other student feedback mechanisms.
- Include details about changes in any departmental news communications that you produce for students.
We are always to keen to hear about changes made at programme, departmental and Faculty/School levels in response to student feedback. Your examples help the Student Engagement team to share best practice across the University. Please let us know how you are responding to student feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.