National Student Survey rates Sussex in top 20 for student satisfaction
Eighty-nine per cent of Sussex students are happy with their university experience, according to the results of the latest National Student Survey (NSS), published today (27 September 2012). This keeps Sussex in the top 20 universities across the UK for student satisfaction for the third consecutive year.
Students praise teaching staff, rating Sussex highly for: quality of teaching (89 per cent); staff being good at explaining things (93 per cent); staff being enthusiastic (90 per cent); and courses being intellectually stimulating (89 per cent).
The University also moved into the UK’s top five for the organisation and management of its courses, with a satisfaction rating of 87 per cent.
There are also strong performances among individual subjects at Sussex: American Studies; Anthropology; Electrical Engineering; German/Italian; History; International Development; Law; Physics and Astronomy; Psychology; Social Work; and Sociology were all rated in their respective top 10s in the UK.
Professor Clare Mackie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), says: “It’s great to hear that so many of our students enjoy their time at Sussex.
“With more students on campus this year than ever before, the challenge is to identify what it is that students like about the Sussex experience and then keep it, or, where possible, make it even better.”
A £7.7-million refurbishment of the Library, completed in 2011, also receives a positive response from students: its rating of 86 per cent is its best ever and 12 percentage points higher than in 2011 when the refurbishment was still ongoing. This combined with improved scores for IT means that student satisfaction with learning resources at Sussex is at its second-highest level (79.8 per cent) since the NSS began in 2005.
Following the results of the 2011 NSS, the University spent £1.3-million on increasing the speed and availability of wireless internet (Wi-Fi) on campus and installing 400 new computers.
Professor Mackie says that these improved scores show that this money was well spent: “We were right to listen to our students and take urgent action in these areas and I am pleased that they seem to value and enjoy using the much-improved services we now offer.
“We now need to take a look at where we can make further targeted investments this year.”
The NSS covers finalists at all UK institutions and was completed in spring 2012 by more than 1,900 final-year Sussex students – more than ever before.
The 22 questions asked in the core survey cover teaching; assessment and feedback; academic support; organisation and management; learning resources; personal development; and overall satisfaction.
Taking all 22 questions into account, the University averages 79 per cent, remaining unchanged compared to 2011.
Answering an additional question for this year, 68 per cent of Sussex students – more than the national average - say they are satisfied with the Students’ Union.
Professor Mackie says that two major developments this year should help to address continuing issues around assessment and feedback on courses. She says: “The new structure of the academic year now in place should significantly improve how and when we assess and provide feedback to our students.
“Last year we also took a long, hard look at each and every degree that we offer and how it is taught. This portfolio review process enabled us to make systematic improvements in how assessment is planned and delivered as part of the curriculum.”
From this year, the NSS results will be published as Key Information Sets (KIS) on university websites; on a new national website; and on the UCAS course search tool. They are also used to help create the main university league tables.
For more information, go to Sussex’s NSS web pages.