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Investments under way to improve the student experience

Laptops can be borrowed from the self-service lockers in the Library

It is only a matter of weeks since term ended, but preparations are well under way for the new academic year in September and investments are being made to upgrade campus facilities.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Clare Mackie, says: “We aim to ensure that all of our students have an exceptional and distinctive experience while at Sussex.

“At the top of our list of improvements this summer are the campus facilities: students’ living and social spaces, seminar rooms, lecture theatres and labs.

“But we also know how important assessment and learning resources are to our students, and we are continuing to make improvements during the vacation in these areas.”

With an increase in the numbers of students expected this autumn, extra teaching and study spaces are being created to ensure a good learning environment for Sussex students. The addition of 22 new teaching rooms and three new PC clusters means that around 10% more rooms will be available.

Alongside the comprehensive programme of refurbishment across campus to improve General Teaching Space (GTS) and other buildings, investment is also being made in recruiting additional staff. Early approval was given for 69 new academic roles and 20 new Professional Services staff, and recruitment is already under way for a number of these posts.

Meanwhile, a programme of continuing improvements is ongoing in learning resources and IT and Library services for students:

  • From autumn 2016, e-submission and feedback will be extended to include finalists and taught postgraduate students, and will accept more types of submission (such as portfolios).
  • Library staff are working with colleagues in the Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) over the summer to improve content and enhance functionality in the online Skills Hub. This work includes focus groups with students as text on the site is rewritten and refreshed.
  • New wi-fi access points, which provide more capacity and better compatibility with Apple devices, are being installed in residences, following roll-out to the Library and many teaching areas during the spring.
  • For the new academic year, the IT Service Desk in Shawcross will open for longer hours on weekdays and will also be open on Saturdays and Sundays during term time.
  • IT Services are working with the Library to extend the number of self-service laptops available for loan from 48 to 72.

Staff in the Housing team and Residential Services are undertaking significant preparation work to ensure that all new students have accommodation for the start of the 2016-17 academic year. New for this year, housing will be piloting an online chat to provide instant response to applicants and residents, and have recruited a dedicated Housing Officer to increase the number of ‘Homestay’ bed spaces (a property or room rented by a landlord or local resident).

The Housing team also continue to work on improvements to the support for Sussex students who live in the community. Alongside the opening earlier this year of an information centre shop on Lewes Road in Brighton, they have trebled the number of Housing Officers (both on and off campus) who are trained to help students read over tenancy agreements and assist with any issues that may arise.

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Friday, 8 July 2016

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