Your voice matters

At the University of Essex, we encourage Students and Departments to actively listen and to speak up. Our Students can talk directly to their department or they can share their views anonymously with an elected Student Representative. We also obtain valuable anonymous feedback from the National Student Survey (NSS) which is run independently by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Office of Students.

Following this listening exercise, we have actioned so many improvements, enhancing academic life and student experience.

Here are some of the changes made recently within each department: 

Department of Economics

  • We introduced new degree schemes to expand our placements programme.
  • We have started teaching R instead of STATA.
  • We introduced PAL mentors, who are final year students with high grades in maths and stats, to help other students with the content of first year maths and stats modules.
  • We now schedule all tests at times reasonable for both UK and International students.

Department of Government

  • The Postgraduate Research lab has been refurbished and now includes collaborative working space as well as computer access.
  • Capstone Project supervision - we have introduced a taught, portfolio-based final year project module as an alternative to research-based.
  • The department now allow for a break in between sessions that had been compressed.

Department of History

  • We have implemented a clear and concise standardised labelling system for all modules on Moodle and Talis.
  • The Department’s Student Voice Group meetings and annual Module Fair took place on campus and this will be the preferred meeting format for staff/student events following students expressing how keen they were for in-person activities.
  • We have asked staff to send out emails and other messages during regular working hours, between 8am and 6pm on weekdays only.

Department of Languages and Linguistics

  • We provided 5 extra headsets and microphones to be used in the phonetics labs.
  • It has been arranged for future UG & PGT Student Voice Groups for the ‘pre-SVG’ to take place directly before the main SVG so students can discuss and collate their ideas before staff arrive, instead of attending both events.  

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies

  • We are currently supporting students with identifying any assignment bunching which could be causing pressure points and assignment deadlines will be revisited and amended on a case-by-case basis due to the number of interdisciplinary degrees and range of optionality for LiFTS students which makes a blanket approach to finding a solution challenging.
  • We hold regular Personal Tutor meetings at a mutually convenient time.
  • Access to study rooms is now 24/7 with a bookable room available to those students who wish to reserve a desk.

School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science

  • We have put together a repository or list of links to datasets, which will be added to the student handbook. This is to have real examples of data so Students can better understand data processing.

Department of Psychology

  • We provided additional support sessions following feedback from students about specific aspects of the course that they were struggling with. 
  • We have reduced the time between students submitting coursework and receiving marks/feedback. We have also changed the way we release the marks for January exams – these are now received with the same turnaround time as other assessments.
  • We have taken extra care to separate out coursework deadlines wherever possible. 
  • We provided guidance to GLAs on how best to create a positive learning environment in lab classes.  

Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies

  • Students can now attend staff meetings and the Education Away Day.
  • We now have informal 'feedback moments' within teaching events.
  • We provide mid-term module feedback via 'Change Weeks'.

Department of Sociology and Criminology  

  • We have a ‘Cohort building group’ with a variety of engagement events and activities. We have introduced events/study groups in the Sociology Study Centre. We also have a Department Festive Social in collaboration with the Criminology Society.
  • Late submission claims are now automatically approved if students have 3 or more deadlines within a 4 day period which are weighted 20% or more.
  • We have created a Dissertation Library – browsable file to see titles, topics and methods of final year projects from 2019 onwards.
  • From Spring (2023) there will be a ‘Re-Induction Programme’ with Welcome back activities open to all UG and PGT students to cover basics of using Moodle, MyEssex, and more.   

East 15

  • The SU café at Roding has new equipment such as sofas, blinds, tables and floor cushions to make a better student common room space and provide more room.
  • Access to kitchen facility is now available to students. 

Edge Hotel School

  • More day trips and a careers event are both are organised for Autumn term with a view to continuing these going forward.
  • Edge Hotel School currently gives feedback prior to submission up to 1 week before submission. This was a focus on the academic away day and discrepancies were identified and clarified to prevent them.
  • We have booked an additional 10 different events speakers for Event Management courses. 

Essex Business School

  • We have introduced more structured careers support into the first year Professional and Academic Development module and ran 5 digital skills workshops for finalists.
  • There is additional support for exams and staff timetabled onto voluntary exam support classes.
  • We have introduced a group work exercise into the Professional and Academic Development 2 module.

Essex Pathways

  • Both teachers meet weekly to ensure that the support and guidance given is in line with each other and to discuss how to best support specific students who needed it. We will continue this good practice.
  • The Department will continue to provide timely and constructive feedback.
  • We will continue to make connections to politics as it unfolds.

Essex Law School

  • We invested in online resources like Law Trove to give you greater online access to Law texts. This provides students with access to a much greater supplier of texts online, so students can save money on buying books and can access material remotely with greater ease.
  • We have developed an enhanced peer mentor role to better support students. The School has a large pool of students called ‘Law Stars’ who have helped the School develop support activities for our students who need them.
  • We have invested in a Director of Student Support, whose role is to directly support academic skill development for Law Students and who meets regularly with students 1-2-1 to offer additional support where needed.
  • We have created a new support programme for any student who is undertaking reassessment during the Summer. We have created a Summer programme of revision sessions to support students who have been offered reassessment over the Summer. These sessions aim to set students up with the skills they need to prepare for their assessment and give them a place to ask questions and seek help.
  • We are publishing submission deadline schedules at the start of the academic year so people can take these into account when making choices for optional modules.
  • We have improved guides for writing essays and how to understand feedback.

Interdisciplinary Studies Centre

  • Other Departments let us know what open events they are running so that we can advertise these to our students.
  • Past exam papers are now available in the take-home format on Moodle.
  • Department-specific meetings with a librarian to support with finding books for dissertations are being considered, on top of the University’s wider available ability to book with a Librarian. 

School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

  • We have arranged installation of an Exploratory Space and blinds to Lab 7.
  • We have included SAMT surveys for modules.
  • Agile is included into the Year 1 Project Management curriculum.
  • We have improved and expanded Student Information on the Moodle page.
  • Lab 3 is a designated quiet space for solo working.

School of Health and Social Care

  • We have reduced the assessment load across our provision, ensuring that assessment strategy remains authentic and valid.
  • We have arranged larger rooms to ensure adequate spacing and more comfortable seating.
  • The support provided for academic skills was reviewed across the provision within the BSc OT programme. Skills for Success have provided various sessions across all 3 years of the programme to provide students with targeted support related to the modules and assessments they are engaged in. For example, presentation and exam preparation skills in year 1 and critical writing for dissertation in year 3. 
  • We adapted the marksheets (for the entire School) to include clearer information.
  • We have introduced optional fortnightly placement check-ins over the lunch break, facilitated by the placement coordinator and a rotating academic. This is to provide additional support and time for reflection.

School of Life Sciences

  • Discussions have been initiated between the Grounds Manager, Estates and Student Voice Group representatives for students to be involved in rewilding some sections of campus.
  • The curriculum is being reviewed to see whether ‘R’ tuition should be incorporated into year 1 so that it is sufficiently covered for these modules in year 2.
  • We have produced set guidance on Essay writing for the final year Issues Modules. All assessment for the Issues Modules is currently being reviewed for next year. Existing essay writing guidelines are being reviewed to identify possible improvements.
  • A WhatsApp group has been created to organise social events. PGRs were invited to a zoo trip in the Spring term. An end of year celebration was organised plus the Graduate Forum event will be held in-person. 

School of Philosophy and Art History

  • During Summer, Recruitment emails are sent to PGR students before an advert is posted online. All postgraduate student are sent information about Ambassadors for Offer Holder Days and Students advised to look out for Frontrunner positions.
  • We are planning more social events this year for welcome week and throughout the year.

School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences

  • Now we are not restricted by any regulations dictated to us by the University of Essex’s response to COVID-19, we have restored a number of practical sessions for multiple courses, including anatomy and pathophysiology sessions. 82% of online lectures were changed to face-to-face/dual delivery for Spring 2022.
  • During a Student Voice Group meeting it was highlighted two deadlines were close together for ‘Sports Performance and Coaching’ and ‘Sport and Exercise Science’. These were both moved to ensure students didn’t have both deadlines so close together.
  • All final year students have been informed of how to contact their supervisor to arrange meetings and we set up a survey so that students could to let us know they had met with their supervisor and everything was okay.
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