What difference has StudentSurvey.ie made in your institution?
Since 2013, over 300,000 first and final year undergrads and taught postgrads have used StudentSurvey.ie to share their thoughts and feedback with their higher education institution. But in that time what difference has StudentSurvey.ie made in your institution? How have the results been used to enhance the student experience across the 25 higher education institutions that take part?
We are asking staff and student representatives to reflect upon 9 years of StudentSurvey.ie and how this major national survey has made an impact in your institution.
This StudentSurvey.ie Lifecycle activities were conceived to respond to student feedback on StudentSurvey.ie about student supports and services. The surveys highlighted the need to raise awareness of existing services and to engage further to share results, explore meaningful improvements, prioritise and plan actions in partnership with students.
A full list of student services was compiled and the Big Wheel (see image below) was created. The Director of Student Services, Transition to Trinity Officer, Students’ Union (SU) and Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) created focus groups to share StudentSurvey.ie results and get a deeper understanding of what improvements students would most like to see.
Improvements that students would like to see to services informed the creation of a priority list, and steps have been taken to close the feedback loop in many of these areas.
In order to increase awareness of services generally, a full day Student Services Expo was organised in partnership with the SU and GSU, where each of the services hosted a stall to promote service activities and introduce service teams to students in person. The event raised awareness of services and developed close relationships between student leaders and professional staff, and in many cases introduced College services staff to each other. It is hoped that, post-pandemic, this Expo will be a regular annual fixture.
The StudentSurvey.ie lifecycle activities were conceived in order to address the perceived gap in the provision of student services and student awareness of the activities as reported in StudentSurvey.ie responses. The lifecycle activities would provide the opportunity to gain more in-depth feedback from students, close the feedback loop between survey responses and action, and raise awareness of available student services to students.
Key stakeholders involved in the conception of the Project were the Director of Student Services, Transition to Trinity Officer and the Students’ Union. Other stakeholders in the later stages included all student services and students. The five key stages were
- Analysis of survey results;
- Creation of Big Wheel;
- Focus Groups;
- Student Services Expo;
- Implementation of feedback.
Communication to Stakeholders
All College services contributed an outline of their services to create the Big Wheel – a simple overview of all services.
The recruitment of students to participate in the focus groups and surveys was carried out by the Students’ Unions in their weekly emails to students, and by the Transition to Trinity Officer through the Student2Student mentors.
Results of the focus groups and surveys were presented to the Student Life Committee to ensure that all service leads had the opportunity to examine the feedback received.
Benefits of the Project
The in-depth feedback received from focus groups and surveys resulted in the creation of a priority list for service improvement. This list included
- Shorter waiting times for Health & Counselling services;
- More student spaces;
- More academic skills classes (particularly from the students’ academic department);
- Financial advice;
- Accommodation advice;
- A more efficient Academic Registry.
Within the next year, extra staff had been approved for Health and Counselling services to decrease waiting times.
An additional five student spaces (Zón Mac Léinn) are now available on campus, as well as online class spaces.
Student Learning Development increased the number of academic skills workshops they provide to students and Finance Friday information sessions were introduced to provide more financial advice to students.
The case was successfully made for some additional resources in Academic Registry. Each of these initiatives closes the feedback loop from the StudentSurvey.ie results.
The Student Services Expo provided 24 stands for services and students as a casual way to interact, to ask questions about services provided and to explore offerings in a dynamic, personable environment, including sport showcases, raffles, and spot prizes. Feedback received at the Expo was overwhelmingly positive, with many students remarking that they were unaware of the wealth of supports available to them.
Evaluation of the success of the Project will be undertaken with the next cycle of StudentSurvey.ie feedback. The Big Wheel has found a permanent home in the Student Service Centre so that future generations can see the breadth of services available.