Students Staff

15 January 2019

Supporting student success and promoting the value of an Essex degree

Filed under: Latest news — mh17332 @ 3:46 pm

Our Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Madeline Eacott reflects on how we’ve revolutionised our support for students and the improvements in student outcomes this has helped us achieve.

We believe in delivering a transformational education which leads to a degree which is really valued by our graduates.Madeline Eacott

We have seen a step change in the way we support students to succeed in their studies over the past five years and we have seen a corresponding improvement in their academic achievements.

In that time we have been carefully monitoring student degree outcomes to ensure we are confident any increase in ‘good degrees’ is due to student achievement above anything else.

Last October our Senate, which safeguards the quality and standards of an Essex degree, reviewed an in-depth report on this exact issue and recognised the huge amount of work which has gone into supporting student success, while maintaining standards.

We’ve revolutionised our approach to supporting students to succeed and have introduced a huge range of measures to drive forward student achievement including:

  • Our spending on facilities and academic services per student has led us to be ranked in the top 5 in the UK for this measure in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide in the last three years.
  • Student satisfaction with ‘Assessment and feedback’ and ‘Learning resources’ as measured by the National Student Survey has seen a long-term improvement.
  • We have a robust system of course approval, monitoring and review in place. We also ask external examiners to comment explicitly on the maintenance of academic standards and consistency with national qualifications frameworks.
  • Our Curriculum Review programme and commitment to developing best practice means we support diverse learning styles, assess students more effectively, have an increased focus on inclusive learning and provide staged preparation for final year projects.

All of this work has been recognised. The Quality Assurance Agency commended Essex for the way we enhance student learning opportunities and the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework Panel rated us Gold and praised us for ensuring “students from all backgrounds achieve outstanding outcomes”.

Our teaching and learning strategy won a Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Award in 2017 and was praised by the expert judging panel for having a “demonstrable impact on student learning outcomes”.

And of course the citation from the judges who named us University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2018 said  Essex has been “unabashed in its strategy to recruit students on the basis of potential rather than just prior achievement, and it has helped them to fulfil that potential”.

Of course we can do better and we are striving with the Students’ Union to further improve the student experience and continue to help students to succeed and reach their potential.

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