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THE BUSINESS SCHOOL


Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

CONTENTS Introduction 4

A Note on Data 6

The Original Vision for Education 7

Executive Summary 8

1. Student / Staff Ratio - Making Education Personal 10

2. Academic Excellence 12

3. World Class Research-Led Teaching 14

4. Developing Learning Resources 15

5. Improving the Exam Experience 17

6. Promoting Academic Integrity 18

7. Outstanding Career Opportunities 19

8. Encouraging Study, Work and Volunteering Abroad 20

9. Student Engagement 21

10. Attracting, Welcoming and Supporting Outstanding New Students 22

Targets and Impact Measures 23

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

FOREWORD

FROM THE DEPUTY VICE-CHANCELLOR The SundayTimes Good University Guide 2014 this autumn placed Exeter 8th in the UK. Last year (2012-2013) we were Sunday Times University of the Year. But we are not at all complacent. We want you to have an outstanding experience, to have an excellent course, to have lots of activities and opportunities, to really understand the benefits of being in a top research and top world university, and to top all this by getting into a really great job, or Masters’ programme. We can only do this with you and with such fantastic Unions: the Students’ Guild at Streatham and St Lukes and FXU at the Cornwall Campus at Penryn. We never underestimate the importance of our partnership. The sabbatical officers are some of the highest quality people you will find in Higher Education, anywhere! The 2011 Vision document was really important. It helped me and our staff better understand your priorities, and the Students’

Guild is right, for example, to highlight the success of the threeweek turnaround policy. We all believe that University transforms lives, and we want to do absolutely what we can to make that experience even better for you. Turning the Students’ Guild’s attention now to Colleges is an extremely important thing for it to do. Imogen and Alex highlight the importance of data to ensure the Vision for each college is of the highest possible quality. That’s a feature of Exeter education: make sure your ideas and arguments are evidence based. We use data all the time. We look again and again at the National Student Survey, for example, at what the scores tell us. Even though we were 7th in the UK this year, we believe we can do better by making continuous improvements. We need you and the Students’ Guild to help us by getting involved, by contributing to this document and by making Exeter’s best education even better.

Janice Kay Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We wish to thank various people for their contribution to this project. Firstly, thank you to the students at Exeter. It is your comments that are at the heart of every word of these Visions and they are for you.Thank you also to Academic Representatives who work to make change in every discipline across the University and it is your comments in Student Staff Liaison Committee, which have driven these documents forward. You are by far the most important people around here, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

particularly Janice Mitchelson and Chaz Malyon, have also been instrumental both in gathering data from the Cornwall campus and in drafting relevant sections of these Visions. Becky Williamson has undertaken the gargantuan task of proof reading every Vision and Meri Wills has designed the beautiful documents that you are currently reading. Special thanks must also be extended to Dr. James Smith for his exceptional project delivery, his eternal enthusiasm, and his commitment to the pursuit of a high quality vision of student voice.

Secondly, we would like to thank various members of Students’ Guild staff for their invaluable contributions; Gary McLachlan, Emily Stevens, Charlie Leyland, and Will Page for their work in collecting high quality data, drafting the Visions and giving the project fantastic staff support throughout. Our colleagues at FXU,

Finally, thank you to members of the University who have supported the project since the publication of the initial document. We look forward to creating action plans with you for the Visions, and we look forward to our input into the Education Strategy Review.

Imogen Sanders VP Academic Affairs 2012-13

Alex Louch VP Academic Affairs 2013-14

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

INTRODUCTION

FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT ACADEMIC AFFAIRS In 2011, the University of Exeter Students’ Guild produced the first Students’ Vision for the Future of Education, a document outlining ‘the top 10 educational priorities students told us to campaign on.’

The document highlighted students’ aspirations and presented research that suggested ways of improving educational experience across the University. The 2011 Vision was widely considered a valuable document and contained some real successes, most notably the introduction of the three-week turnaround policy, which has seen a marked rise in student satisfaction across the University. However, the world of higher education has changed significantly over the past two years and in order to improve on the solid foundations created by the 2011 Vision, the Guild’s priority has been to work with colleges to produce focused strategies for each. Whereas in 2011, there was one Vision, in 2013 there are eight; one each for Humanities, Business, CLES, CEMPS, CSSIS, Exeter Medical School, INTO and Postgraduate Research Students. Naturally, the specific focus of these documents has required a great deal of research and numerous students and staff have been consulted in this process – our thanks go to them all. In addition, we have worked with a huge amount of data to ensure that these Visions are of the highest possible quality and to support our recommendations throughout. We hope that the results will set the standards in each college for years to come, helping to improve students experience and consolidate Exeter’s reputation for outstanding academic standards.

In pursuit of the best education in the world, Imogen Sanders VP Academic Affairs 2012-13

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Alex Louch VP Academic Affairs 2013-14


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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

A NOTE ON DATA The Visions for Education are the culmination of two years worth of data gathering. NSS, PTES, and MACE data have been considered, staff have been consulted, and national organisations like NUS have provided guidance. The Students’ Guild has also scoured the Teaching Awards nominations for examples of good practice contained within, and examples are occasionally quoted in the text. However, the main contributors to these Visions are the students of each college, and our thanks go to everyone who has contributed in some way. The main impetus has come from the academic representatives for each college, with Subject Chairs frequently passing key issues and data along to the Guild. However, numerous students from outside of the SSLC have visited the Guild’s ‘Have Your Say Hub’ or the Advice Unit with questions and concerns, all of which have been logged and considered. Open consultation events have also invited students to submit ideas, big or small, to be added to the evidence base, whilst focus groups have helped to clarify student opinion on particularly thorny issues. The result is that the opinions of hundreds of students have been taken into account in compiling the recommendations that are included within these Visions. Where relevant, individual SSLC minutes or statistical data have been referenced where an issue is explicitly referred to, but no individual student has been named and all comments have been made anonymous. In the case of the Business School, a final note of thanks must go to Grace Santos-Murphy, for providing the focus group data used in compiling the student written EQUIS submission. The report provided a valuable additional stream of information and, to reflect its worth, 9 of the 10 sections in the Business Vision opens with a quote from the report.

A NOTE ON THE COMPOSITION OF THE VISIONS Although the content of each of the Visions is different, there is naturally significant overlap in some of the issues raised between colleges. As an aide for those interested in tracking University-wide patterns, a summary document collating the issues and recommendations that reappear across colleges will appear on the Students’ Guild website once all of the Visions are finalised. Where points apply across all or several colleges, passages of the same text and recommendations appear verbatim in the Visions to provide additional continuity.

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

THE VISION FOR EDUCATION 2011 In 2011, the Students’ Guild produced the first ever Vision for the Future of Education. The purpose of this section is to provide a very brief breakdown of the impact that the document had, highlighting some areas of success and more specific challenges for the future.

IMPACT

HEADLINE SUCCESSES

In 2012, when research for the Students’ Visions for the Future of Education began the Students’ Guild sent out a brief survey asking Heads of Department for their views on the 2011 Vision. The results were telling; 67% of those surveyed said that they had actively used the document to shape educational practice within their departments. Of that 67%, all believed that aiming to achieve the standards set by the document had improved the educational experience of their students, with many citing the three-week turnaround policy as the most significant success.

THREE WEEK TURNAROUND: The highest profile success story to emerge from the 2011 Vision for Education concerned the three-week turnaround policy. Section 2.4 of the Vision made the following recommendation:

FEEDBACK FROM STAFF AND RATIONALE FOR 2013 When we surveyed staff to discover their opinions on the 2011 Vision for Education, we also asked for their impressions and areas for improvement. Staff feedback tended to be positive, with a good example given below:

“Rather than any one specific example, I think it rather served its purpose of keeping the educational experience high on the agenda for the University and was aspirational in what we should try to work towards.” In addition to feedback, staff were also asked to make recommendations for the 2013 document. Two main points were raised: a) increased consultation with staff to ensure that the recommendations in the 2013 Vision are achievable and b) a more specific focus on the needs of each college. One academic summed up:

“As a high level document the current version is fine, but now the College level incarnation needs to be customized to the resources, staffing base and wishes of the College students. Like this, you end up with something that meets the desires of the specific students, but is grounded in realism as to what is achievable.” By producing college based Students’ Visions for the Future of Education we hope to set bespoke, achievable goals for each college that will enhance the educational experience.

“From the academic year starting 2011 assignments should be returned to students within three weeks of submission’.”

With the support of the University, this policy was implemented with high profile results. In the words of Jonathan Barry, former Dean of Taught Students: “Despite challenges, the introduction

of the three-week turnaround in 2011-12 was a success: one measure of this is surely the 7% improvement in the University’s NSS result for ‘promptness of feedback’ this year, after five years of no improvement in this measure overall.”

IMPROVING ACADEMIC REPRESENTATION: Although the academic representation system at Exeter is still evolving, significant strides have been made in line with recommendations from the 2011 Vision for Education. To take some specific examples: in line with recommendation 4.2 PGR liaison forums have been introduced to improve postgraduate representation; ELE pages, increased departmental publicity and a brand new academic representation website have greatly increased the profile of reps in accordance with 4.6; and SSLCs now discuss MACE and NSS results as a matter of course as specified by recommendation 4.8.

CHALLENGES ENGAGEMENT: Awareness of the Vision for Education amongst staff and students from FCH, INTO, postgraduate researchers, and Exeter Medical School was minimal. By focusing on specific colleges, we hope to extend the impact of our research. PROVIDING POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH WORKSPACE: Section 5 of the 2011 Vision was devoted to the provision of PGR workspace. Data from the 2012 -2013 PGR liaison forums and PGR Academic Affairs shows that a lack of sufficient workspace remains the major concern for the majority of research students. This is representative of a weaker response to PGR issues across the University, something the 2013 Visions aim to remedy. STUDENT STAFF RATIO AND ACADEMIC CONTACT: Recommendation 1.6 in the 2011 Vision specified that student staff ratio for seminars should not exceed 15:1. Although some progress has been made in this area, with the University continuing to employ new staff, achievement of this target is some way off. As the University continues to grow and the sector becomes increasingly competitive, this must remain an area of serious focus for the 2013 Visions.

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In order to establish a top 5 student experience in a world of increased fees and student expectations the Students’ Guild, and the resultant importance of a partnership approach towards quality assurance and enhancement, this Vision for the Future of Education sets out the following priorities that should be enacted as standard practice in the Business School.

1. STUDENT / STAFF RATIO – MAKING EDUCATION PERSONAL 1.1 All Business School modules, both UG and PGT, should have some small group teaching by 2014. Ideally, the target for seminars, tutorials, and workshops should be one member of staff for every twenty students as a maximum.

3.1 All modules should be informed by current research with students offered the opportunity to participate in the research process. 3.2 A research dissertation option must be made available and well supported for all students. 3.3 All students should receive adequate training to feel fully comfortable engaging and participating with research. 3.4 Students’ participation in Business School research projects should be integrated into degrees. 3.5 The Business School should continue to foster a vibrant research environment through regular supplementary lectures, reading groups, and written updates.

4. DEVELOPING LEARNING RESOURCES

1.2 Students would appreciate if projected class sizes were clearly advertised to students for each module.

4.1 All hidden course costs should be eliminated, with all core textbooks, printing, calculators, and other learning costs covered by the Business School.

1.3 The Students’ Guild recommends that the Business School review the personal tutor system to ensure that students’ expectations are being exceeded in this area.

4.2 Students need a comprehensive and realistic prediction of potential course costs when they begin their degree, and at the start of each academic year to avoid financial surprises.

1.4 Personal tutors should have the time and resource to routinely overview all marks and feedback that their students receive. This should be considered with the student at least once a year, or specific and proactive interventions should be attempted where students are consistently underperforming.

4.3 Both generic data on student performance for each module and MACE feedback for each module should be made available to students via ELE.

1.5 The Business School should ensure that every student has a clearly defined avenue to discuss academic issues with their personal tutor, and can be effectively signposted to support services for any pastoral issues with which they may need support. 1.6 Personal tutors should be in a position to provide informed references for their students.

2. ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE 2.1 All feedback on written assignments must be delivered to students within three weeks. 2.2 All students should be offered an opportunity for oneto-one feedback, and all module leaders should have well advertised office hours during which to meet. 2.3 Owing to the disjunction between positive expectations of group work opportunities pre-arrival and the realities of working with challenging groups, the Business School should consider researching and reviewing the way group work is managed and assessed.

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3. RESEARCH-LED TEACHING

2.4 By 2014, all Business School staff (including GTAs) should be professionally accredited as educators by the HEA or through an ASPIRE qualification. Where staff have additional support needs such as for language requirements, these should be preempted and supported prior to teaching students.

4.4 Library resources should continue to grow rapidly, with students placed at the forefront of book / resource acquisition. 4.5 The Business School should encourage mid –term feedback on all modules, with SSLCs invited to consider and analyse the techniques and effectiveness of the staff-student dialogue. 4.6 With the use of ELE seen as increasingly important, students have requested that Exeter’s IT provision be updated so that all ELE pages and attachments can be viewed through all electronic devices.

5. IMPROVING THE EXAM EXPERIENCE 5.1 Individual feedback should be available for all examinations to enhance and develop student learning. 5.2 Generic feedback on exams should be provided for all modules through ELE. 5.3 ‘Question banks’ and past papers must be available for every module, including new modules. 5.4 Efforts should be re-doubled to eliminate all errors from examinations. Where errors do occur, a rapid response system must be in place to make corrections in each exam. 5.5 Exam results must be delivered on a set time and date, always clearly pre-advertised to students.


6. PROMOTING ACADEMIC INTEGRITY 6.1 The Business School should form a working group with the Exams Office and the Students’ Guild Advice Unit with the aim of eliminating exam misconduct in the Business School.

8.4 Degrees ‘with a proficiency in’ a certain language must be widely advertised and supported for all students studying a Business degree.

6.2 The Business School should ensure that every new student attends a compulsory session explaining exam rules and regulations, with the intention of preventing misconduct in any form.

8.5 SSLC Rep exchanges with outstanding universities should be encouraged and financially supported every year.

6.3 The Business School must ensure that every student, regardless of nationality and English language capabilities, is entirely comfortable with the Exeter exam systems. 6.4 The Business School must introduce measures to guard against plagiarism, where former students or online services are able to provide answers to assessments. 6.5 The Business School should support a student-led campaign to promote the use of technology in avoiding academic misconduct for healthy, modern student learning.

7. OUTSTANDING CAREER OPPORTUNITIES 7.1 By 2015, all programmes taught in the Business School should be professionally accredited by the relevant sector-wide professional regulatory bodies. 7.2 Modules that feature ‘industrial experience’ should be extended through an increase in numbers of academic staff and through a sufficient increase in staff training, as well as by proxy through clearly defined electronic portals and support networks.

9. STUDENT ENGAGEMENT 9.1 To further develop the Business School’s invaluable input into the University Student Engagement network this year, it should work to create a more focused and personalised ‘Student Engagement Strategy’ aligned to the four broad areas established. 9.2 The Business School is encouraged to reinvigorate its Change Agents scheme as explored in its recent review, seeking to identify and support at least three new projects (one for each SSLC) each year. 9.3 The Business School must develop its University-leading work in supporting student engagement with quality assurance and enhancement such as offering increased recognition and support for the work of their superb SSLC and seeking to broaden and deepen the quality of students’ engagement with different aspects of quality assurance and enhancement as outlined.

10. ATTRACTING AND WELCOMING OUTSTANDING NEW STUDENTS 10.1 The Business School must continue to develop its support for INTO students making the transition onto their modules.

7.3 Every student in the Business School should be supported to undertake at least one internship.

10.2 The Business School must set up a ‘Your Exeter’ portal for all new students who have accepted a place.

7.4 Alumni should be incentivised to give the benefit of their employment experience to current undergraduates through career mentoring programmes.

10.3 Increased feedback from alumni should be sought to inform module choice and help prepare new students for their university experience.

7.5 The Business School should ensure that bursaries are available to students who may need additional support to take up opportunities and incur extra costs, such as working for free or living outside of Exeter to complete internships and placements to help them fulfil their potential.

10.4 Every new international student should receive a thorough induction to prepare them for life in the Business School that features an enhanced focus on academic misconduct and exam procedures.

8. ENCOURAGING STUDY, WORK AND VOLUNTEERING ABROAD

10.5 The Business School is encouraged to continue its superb support for Students’ Guild events such as ‘Diversity Month,’ in an effort to develop a truly inclusive and diverse university experience.

8.1 A study abroad option must be made available to all students. 8.2 All students, regardless of financial background, should have the opportunity to participate in study abroad. 8.3 The Business School must seek to forge links with an increasing number of world-class institutions to ensure that as many students as possible can benefit from exceptional study abroad opportunities.

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

1. STUDENT / STAFF RATIO – MAKING EDUCATION PERSONAL ‘Although it varies for different years and modules, there has been criticism that seminar and tutorial class sizes can be too large (i.e. ranging between 25-100).This seems to be the case more so in Economics, where as more Management based subjects tend to have smaller class sizes that students are happy with.’1

The 2011 Vision for Education set out the following recommendation on student / staff ratio: The University must achieve a teaching student / staff ratio of at most 15:1 by 2015 and aim for 10:1 by 2020. This ratio should be mirrored in small group classes such as seminars; by 2015 the student / staff ratio for these should have a norm of 10:1.2 As a University-wide target, this was a sensible measure, but currently student / staff ratios in the Business School are far higher than anywhere else in the University, making this issue wor thy of fur ther consideration. It is a credit to innovative teaching from Business School lecturers that student feedback, even when class sizes are very high, continues to be positive.3 Although Business students do not always consider large lectures to be a problem, there is a real desire to see oppor tunities for small class teaching in seminars and tutorial increased. There is also a perception that increased staff numbers could lead to more detailed and personalised feedback on work. When academic reps were asked to offer comments on early drafts of this Vision, several comments were made on the issue of small group teaching. For example, double teaching of popular modules was viewed very favourably whilst small group teaching was viewed as one of the primary areas for development by students in Accounting and Finance and Economics. In terms of a realistic student / staff ratio, a Management and Organisation SSLC meeting recorded that a maximum class size of 20 would be ideal for small group teaching, a figure which other Business School students have reacted favourably to following consultations for this Vision. In the shor t term such a target, though still ambitious, seems a reasonable target and the Business School should seek to introduce some small group teaching (maximum of 1/20 students) for each module by 2013/2014, with continued reduction of class size sought in following years. Fur thermore, in order for students to make informed choices on their module selection, clear guidance on projected class sizes for all modules would be appreciated. This was succinctly recorded by the same SSLC earlier in the academic year :

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“It was stated students would find it useful to have a definition of tutorials, seminars, and workshops and for the maximum number of students expected in the class to be put onto the module descriptor.”6 Student / staff ratio also has a significant impact on the quality and accessibility of personal tutors, an issue that requires serious attention across the University. The student EQUIS repor t summarises it thus:

“The quality of personal tutors does seem a little inconsistent, with various students saying they have a very helpful personal tutor who is proactive, whilst some claim they don’t really know who their personal tutor is or why they would contact them.”7 This is a problem that has arisen from the student / staff ratio and a lack of clarity over the role of personal tutors, not only in Business, but throughout the University. Currently, there is a degree of confusion over what personal tutors actually do – is their role primarily academic, pastoral, or a mixture of the two? This is par ticularly concerning as the 2011 Vision made the following recommendation: 3.4. Review the personal tutor system, ensuring minimum standards are being met (and exceeded) across the institution.8 However, this is an issue where very little progress has been made over the past two years and it is an area where student satisfaction remains low. In term 1 alone, 34% of SSLCs raised various deficiencies with their depar tments’ personal tutor system as an issue, mainly owing to this broad lack of understanding or a lack of oppor tunities to meet with their tutors.9 It is therefore suggested that the University, and CLES, conduct reviews into how the personal tutoring system currently operates in order to clarify a) the role of the personal tutor, b) how this role is communicated to students, and c) how each department ensures that the system is working effectively.

1

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 10.

2

Vision for Education, 2011, 21.

3

The January Business School Bulletin noted that an impressive 14 modules received MACE feedback scores of 4.5 or above.

4

Student consultation, 2013/14, term 1.

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Undergraduate Management and Organisation, term 1, 2012/13.


Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

Comments from Business School students in the autumn term of 2013/14, although often positive about individual tutors, have suggested that it can be difficult for students to build a personal relationship with their tutors. The Students’ Guild would also encourage all departments to enable personal tutors to have an overview of each tutee’s performance, with a view to ensuring that each student is progressing satisfactorily throughout their degree. This should be conducted with the student at least once a year or as a proactive intervention if there are clear issues emerging. Personal tutors could also have a role in helping students to reflect upon their personal engagement with aspects of the University experience and should be in a position to provide informed references for all of their students.10

6

Undergraduate Management and Organisation, term 1, 2012/13.

7

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 9.

8

Visions for Education, 2011, 14, 3.4.

9

Academic Representation Update, Jan-Dec 2012/2013, 2.

10

Student Consultation, 2013/14, term 1.

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

2. ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE “The vast majority [of Business School students] are motivated, determined and proactive to get the most out of their degree here, however understandably there are some students who are less hard working.This has been noticed in some group work projects where the free rider problem can occur, as well as some issues communicating with international students because the quality of their verbal English may not be as good as their written English.”11 In terms of Teaching Quality, with very few exceptions, there are high levels of satisfaction across the Business School, as reflected by their strong performance in the 2013 ‘Teaching Awards.’12 Even so, several important areas for improvement were highlighted and the SSLC minutes reflect a variety of issues, with two recurring most regularly. One of these areas is group work. One postgraduate SSLC recorded the following comment:

weeks. However, at the current time there has been no desire to see this turnaround period shortened further, nor is the 2011 Vision’s recommendation that ‘the norm should be two weeks from 2012’ considered a viable option at the current time.16 There is a general recognition that staff work very hard to meet the three-week turnaround deadline, and a focus on improving the quality of feedback is of higher priority.

It was stated that the issue goes beyond students not pulling their own weight as it was felt that some students did not have the academic ability to participate in a group work activity. Students were having to teach other students how to reference and how to participate within a group. It was felt that the problems this year are exactly the same as the problems in previous years.13

However, the 2012 and 2013 NSS results demonstrate that assessment and feedback still remains an area where there is potential for improvement in the Business School.17 This may relate to the question of staff numbers and the amount of time that each member of staff has to devote to their students, but as the Teaching Awards demonstrate, Business School staff still provide a fantastic service to large numbers of students. A segment of an SSLC nomination for one staff member reads:

Again, this is not an issue that is restricted to the Business School and group work appears as a discussion point in the Humanities Vision for Education, where students have continued to experience problems for a number of years.14 Group work is a difficult issue as students appreciate the concept of participating in group work as something that develops transferable skills and boosts their employability prospects. Clearly, group work is not an issue that can be resolved easily, and it will need some serious consideration and collaboration between students and staff to decide upon the best way forward. The Business School is currently conducting a review of how group work is managed and assessed to ensure that all students can enjoy the benefits of group work, a process that the Students’ Guild thoroughly supports. The results of this review should be shared widely with other colleges to ensure that the benefits are felt by all students at the University of Exeter. Another area that should be reviewed is feedback on assessment. Students across the University continued to see three-week turnaround as a priority, citing a small number of cases where this target had failed to be met.15 As a result, the Students’ Guild would reiterate the primary point from the 2011 Vision: All feedback on written assignments must be delivered to students within three

This statement effectively encapsulates an exceptional standard of feedback and also clearly demonstrates what students value from

11

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 6.

12

The Business School attracted 399 nominations in 2013, a 20% increase on previous years.

13

Postgraduate Management and Organisation, 2012/13, 2.2. See also, Management and Organisation Studies Staff Student Liaison Committee, October 2012, 2.9. Students have continued to

raise this issue with the Students’ Guild in term 1 of the 2013/14. 14

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During the term the students have a mock test and a formal coursework test, following which XXX not only aive written feedback to every student as in the marking of papers, but also XXX ensures he is available to discuss areas the students wish to go over, he also provides additional appointment times during the two weeks following the exam for students to visit him with queries. XXX has always been prompt with the delivery of feedback, particularly in the mid-term coursework tests, despite there being well over 300 students on the module, feedback is received in just under a week, which is incredible. XXX is always willing to meet with his students and provide extra office hours, often at very short notice. He frequently advertises his office hours and is incredibly flexible if a student cannot make these times. In his office hour, XXX is incredibly supportive to ensure all students get the feedback they require in one-to-one meeting.18

Humanities’ Vision for Education, 2013, 2.4.


Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

their markers. Detailed written feedback should be provided within three weeks or sooner, all students should be offered an opportunity for one-to-one feedback, and all module leaders should have well advertised office hours during which to meet. Coupled with an effective overview of the personal tutor system, this should ensure that the Business School achieves its aim of becoming a sector-leading provider of feedback. As well as reducing the student / staff ratio and reviewing the areas outlined above, the Business School should continue to support staff to achieve the appropriate teaching qualifications to excel in their roles. To this end, the Business School must ensure that all staff, including GTAs, are fully supported to receive a professional qualification (HEA or ASPIRE) as they are teaching. In the case of fulltime staff, this must be included in their workload module.

15

In particular, see STEM Academic Affairs, 2012/2013, term 2.

16

Vision for Education, 2011, 4.

17

National Student Survey, 2012 and 2013, QN 9.

18

Accounting and Finance SSLC, nomination for ‘Best Feedback Provider,’ Teaching Awards 2013.

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3. WORLD CLASS RESEARCH-LED TEACHING In first year it is quite rare for members of staff ’s research/consulting to have an impact on your learning. However, this will occasionally happen in 2nd and 3rd year if their research is relevant. Students generally feel that they would like to know more about what their lecturers are researching.19

Integrating research fully into teaching is a priority for students across the University, and the Business School is no different. One of the key themes that students have put forward for these Visions is that they want to reap the benefits of Exeter’s recent inclusion in the Russell Group, by experiencing world-class research throughout their degree. The Business School is no different, with Subject Chairs reporting that students see weaving research into the curriculum as essential.20 However, as the EQUIS quote that opens this section testifies, currently some students feel removed from the research that takes place within their community. This is not an isolated comment, with students from all across the University calling for their departments to enhance undergraduate exposure to their research community. In many ways, the Business School is ahead of the other colleges in this area, particularly when it comes to communicating their research to students.21 However, more could still be done to enhance this communication network, whilst introducing more interactive research events (such as reading groups, extracurricular projects, and regular lecture series) is something that would greatly enhance the student experience. The Student Engagement Handbook provides examples of how other colleges are achieving this. Furthermore, where possible, research should be integrated into student learning more consistently and at an earlier stage of the degree process. This is an area where the Business School has several areas of best practice, as indicated by the 2013 Teaching Awards,22 but more needs to be done to ensure that all students enjoy research from the start of their degree all the way through to postgraduate study. Not only should students be involved in their staff’s research at a superficial level, but as many students as possible should be given the opportunity to become active participants in research from the start of their degree. At the very least, all modules should be informed by the latest research and be taught by a tutor at the forefront of that research.

dissertations. The Management and Organisation SSLC provided the following comment:

It was suggested that students are not encouraged to conduct a dissertation and that students viewed conducting a dissertation as a risk.23 The minutes reflect a perception that there is not enough support for students undertaking a dissertation. Furthermore, where a dissertation is an option, students are keen to safeguard their choice of topic. There is a desire to be able to select what they work on and not have a dissertation topic tailored too rigidly – to be encouraged to explore their own interests, with tailored support from an expert supervisor, remains a priority for most students. Guidance and support for students hoping to take a dissertation earlier in the academic programme, increased use of technology, and tailored staff support were all suggested as potential improvements. It might be useful for the Business School to consider Sports and Health Sciences Lukie Dissertation Guide – a student handbook for dissertation writing co-written by staff and students.24

This should include additional support for research-led

19

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 10-11.

20

Student consultation, 2013/14, term 1.

21

The Business School ‘Bulletin’ is considered to be an impressive compilation that provides students with a good overview of college activity.4 Student consultation, 2013/14, term 1.

22

For example: ‘Every single weekly lecture is informed with cutting-edge research that is going on at the moment, whether it is his own or someone else’s in that field. Not only does he

explain the research and its implications for economic theory, but he also draws conclusion for practical real world applications.’ Economics SSLC, Research Inspired Teaching Submission, 2012.

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23

Undergraduate Management and Organisation, term 1, 2012/13.

24

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/132018435/The-Lukie-Dissertation-Guide


Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

4. DEVELOPING LEARNING RESOURCES The Business School has fantastic facilities across its 3 buildings (Streatham Court, Xfi and Building: One), and it is very modern, well maintained and very clean...The University’s main library is located in The Forum, where there are generally good facilities holding around 1.2million printed books for Business School students - although it would be good to have more core textbooks in the library.25 There is a general acceptance at Exeter, that although personal contact with teaching staff is of paramount importance, online technology can be used to enhance learning. ELE now forms the cornerstone of Exeter’s online learning experience and it needs to continue to be developed to accommodate new technologies. The Business School has recently developed a reputation as an innovative leader in technology enhanced teaching and students are keen to see what the college will come up with next. Students continue to value the use of ELE as a learning resource, but would like to see more lecture recordings, revision materials, and examples of interactive content used online. However, there are also concerns that not all staff are fully comfortable using all aspects of ELE or indeed with other methods of technology enhanced learning. It is often reported that only the basics are utilised and students would like to see staff trained and empowered to make the most out of the University’s learning resources. This places an onus on the University’s Education Enhancement Unit to educate more staff on the opportunities that are available to them and train them to feel comfortable using cutting-edge teaching technology. The following recommendation is therefore equally important to acquiring new facilities: •

Staff should be supported and encouraged to explore new teaching technologies through collaboration with EQE.

There are also ways in which ELE could continue to be developed, one of which has been increasingly commented on by students this year. With new students increasingly using a variety of electronic devices to manage their University experience and prepare work, there is a strong desire to see ELE made user friendly for users of different technologies. With the use of ELE seen as increasingly important, students have requested that Exeter’s IT provision be updated so that all ELE pages and attachments can be viewed through all electronic devices. However, despite the fact that technology is becoming increasingly important in learning, more traditional resources, such as Exeter’s rapidly expanding library, continue to be of paramount importance

for students.26 When asked to respond to the statement ‘the library resources and services are good enough for my needs’ as part of the 2012 NSS, less than 70% of students taking Economics pathways agreed.27 The EQUIS report highlighted ‘generally good facilities’, but also noted that ‘it would be good to have more core textbooks in the library.’28 In light of this fact, the Business School should continue to expand its library resources, working alongside the ‘Library Champions’ scheme to ensure that students are at the forefront of resource acquisition. The next point in this section is one that has been included across all of the college Visions. The appetite for feedback goes both ways and students throughout the University have expressed a great deal of support for the concept of being empowered to offer mid-term feedback on modules. Their reasoning is simple: students are often unsure where feedback from MACE actually goes and often feel that their comments are not appropriately addressed, particularly when they are only asked for feedback once their module has been completed.29 That said, the Business School appears to currently be the leading college in responding to MACE and making results public.30 By giving students the opportunity to make comments throughout the module, the University would empower students to make changes to the way their degree is taught. The possibility, in some cases, to have an instantaneous impact on their education would add a significant further incentive to use MACE. In other instances, where students raise problems that are insurmountable in the short-term, the opportunity to have a clear and informative explanation from their module leader would be invaluable. The Students’ Guild therefore supports the implementation of mid-term feedback across the University and recommends that the Business School should encourage mid –term feedback on all modules, with SSLCs invited to consider and analyse the techniques and effectiveness of the staff-student dialogue. As a final point, in this section, the Business School and the University as a whole needs to give serious consideration to how course costs are managed.31 The cost of studying for a degree in the UK has never been higher and many students are facing

25

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 16.

26

For an interesting sample of research on technology enhanced learning see http://www.devry.edu/technologys-impact-on-education.html

27

National Student Survey, 2011 / 2012, QN 16. 27 National Student Survey, 2011 / 2012, QN 16.

28

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 16.

29

MACE Feedback Focus Group, term 1, 2012/2013.

30

For example, see the regular feedback updates in the Bulletin.

31

In several Visions, a section entitled ‘Helping Students to Manage Course Costs’ has been included as a stand-alone chapter. Course Costs were raised as an issue by Business School

students, but other areas were given priority.

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

4. DEVELOPING LEARNING RESOURCES CONT.

increased financial pressures over three years.32 Although dropout rates at Exeter remain relatively low when compared to the rest of the sector, the Students’ Guild is committed to ensuring that the financial well-being of our students continues to be protected. For the last academic year, the National Union of Students estimated that the ‘average student’ paid £1070 each year on equipment, fieldwork, books, printing and other associated course costs, with many students are surprised by how much costs add up over the course of each year.33 Naturally, this will vary from subject to subject, but hidden course costs have been an area of concern for some time now. Students are keen to see these costs eliminated where possible or, where unavoidable, subsidised by well-publicised bursaries for those students who need the money most.34 In the perfect world, the Students’ Guild would like to see all associated course costs covered by the colleges (and therefore it idealistically appears in our list of priorities), but it is clear that this will not be immediately financially achievable. What is of paramount importance is that each department makes clear exactly what their students will be expected to spend at the start of each academic year, and that these course costs are kept to an absolute minimum. Many colleges and University central services are working hard and allocating funds to tackle these issues, but to ensure that they remain high on the University’s list of priorities the following recommendation has formed a part of every Vision for Education for taught students: • •

16

All hidden course costs should be eliminated, with all core textbooks, printing, calculators, and other learning costs covered by the Business School. Students need a comprehensive and realistic prediction of potential course costs when they begin their degree, and at the start of each academic year, to avoid financial surprises.

32

A concern raised by the Guild Advice Unit, and also frequently commented on by the national press.

33

http://www.nus.org.uk/en/advice/money-and-funding/info-and-advice/average-costs-of-living-and-study/ See also, Vision for Education, 2011, 13.

34

See all Academic Affairs 2012/2013 minutes, both undergraduate and postgraduate.


Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

5. IMPROVING THE EXAM EXPERIENCE Solutions are usually posted up on ELE, but rarely is individual [exam] feedback given to students apart from their individual mark. Students can request to see their exam scripts and sit down with the module convenor to go through it if they wish, however not a lot of students know about this.35

Due to the nature of Business School courses, students taking various Business modules are some of the most intensively examined in the University. However, despite the fact that a significant proportion of every student’s degree is assessed through examination, dissatisfaction is often raised with various aspects of the exam process. As the above quote indicates, and in line with previous comments on feedback, ensuring that students are properly supported to improve from one exam to the next is crucial. In most cases, students feel comfortable requesting feedback on written assignments, but feel far less confident about their ability to request feedback or clarification on marks received from exams. Students would value the opportunity to receive additional feedback and would appreciate the transparency of understanding how their exam marks had been reached. The opportunity to receive one-to-one feedback on exams should be promoted and encouraged to all students as a matter of course. Furthermore, generic feedback on exams should always be made available online, with opportunities to go over difficult material in class also provided. Steps also need to be taken to ensure that this feedback is timely. A major issue raised by the Business School SSLCs in the 2012/13 academic year was that exam results were not released when they should have been.36 In terms of both staffing and electronic resources, the Business School must work with the University to ensure that exam results are announced at a timely, pre-advertised date and time – something that appears to have been very effectively managed for all other assignments and degree results for the remainder of the 2012-13 academic year. Delivering a clear set of results on time, followed by appropriate feedback is vital in ensuring that students can continue to progress throughout each academic term. On another note, a sample study suggested that although the incidence of exam errors has dropped significantly, the Business School still logged more incidents than any other college. This is partially due to the nature of the material – Business and STEM subjects that feature multiple equations and complex theories are much more likely to contain small typographical errors than

essay based HASS subjects. Even so, this is an area in which improvements can be made. To combat this, it is suggested that the Business School employs staff or PGRs to take each paper in advance of the exam being sat, to double-check that no errors have been made. In addition, in the rare cases when errors do still occur in exams, there is a significant need for a reduction in the time taken from a student identifying an error in the exam hall to the provision of a correction. In several cases over the past two years, students have been forced to wait up to an hour for a correction to be announced, as lecturers were unavailable when the paper was being sat. This was naturally distressing for students, but following the implementation of the LEAN scheme by the Business School, reaction times have fallen to much more acceptable levels (no more than 10 minutes in the January exams),37 greatly benefitting all students. This standard should certainly be maintained: •

5

The Business School should have a rapid response system in place for each exam, so no student needs to wait more than 10 minutes from the moment an exam issue is raised in the examination hall to the moment a correction can be provided.

Finally, it would be useful for the Business School to work alongside the Guild Advice Unit and the University Student Cases team to support students who have suffered problems with exams. Each of these services do a very fine job, but certainly from within the Students’ Guild there is a feeling that we could take a more co-ordinated approach to data sharing and student support. The result should be an accessible, humane, and seamless service. Information between these parties should be routinely shared to provide the best possible service for students, such as timely or instant reports on academic misconduct cases and mitigation requests rather than the annual reports which often serve little immediate use. Every student who undertakes a procedure with the University Student Cases team should be asked to fill out an anonymous feedback form to be collated by the Guild Advice and Support Unit to constantly evaluate and improve the service for students.

35

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 12.

36

Minutes of the Postgraduate Business School Staff Student Liaison Committee Meeting, February, 2013. 3.1 and Minutes of the Undergraduate Business School Staff Student Liaison

Committee Meeting, February, 2013. 4.1. See also, 4.2. STEM Academic Affairs, term 2 for a University wide perspective. 37

Based on records kept by the Exam Hall Manager for the Sports Hall.

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

6. PROMOTING ACADEMIC INTEGRITY Although exam misconduct in the Business School has fallen dramatically in the last two or three years, largely down to the hard work of both staff and students, Business modules still contribute the most significant proportion of cases in the University.38

The Business School has made enormous strides in preventing academic misconduct over the past few years. However, the exam incident log from the January 2013 exams still indicated that exam misconduct was more of an issue in the Business School than elsewhere in the University.39 For example:

• •

Out of 143 exam incidents that took place during the January exams, 90 were related to the Business School. 84% (42 out of 50) of all exam misconduct reports submitted concerning a breach of rules by a student were issued to Business School students.40

These misconduct cases included bringing concealed notes into examinations, continuing to write after the exam had ended, and taking a mobile phone into the exam hall. A significant proportion of the offending students were international, often citing language barriers and a failure to understand the rules as one of the reasons for their misdemeanours. The Business School has done much to tackle these issues, but an even more comprehensive approach is necessary to minimise exam misconduct and ensure that students are not falling foul of the regulations. As such, the following recommendations should be acted upon:

18

38

Guild 2012/2013 Academic Representation annual report.

39

Annual Report on Academic Misconduct Cases.

40

Exam incident log 7-12 January 2013.

The Business School should work with the Students’ Guild and EQE to consider how we might better induct and explain the ‘rules and tools’ of the academic community to new students. This should include academic integrity principles, clear guidance on collusion, plagiarism and other common misconduct areas. The Business School should ensure that every new student attends a compulsory session explaining exam rules and regulations, with the intention of preventing misconduct in any form. The Business School must ensure that every student, regardless of nationality and English language capabilities, is entirely comfortable with the Exeter exam systems.

These recommendations should ensure that exam misconduct cases continue to fall, bringing the Business School in line with other colleges, reducing exam stress for students, and ensuring that students are supported as well as possible throughout their assessment.


Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

7. OUTSTANDING CAREER OPPORTUNITIES It has also been noted by current students that 1st years are a lot more proactive, hardworking, and career driven than ever before.This is most probably due to the increase in fees and competitive economic environment and students really wanting to get value for money out of their degree.Therefore they are already thinking about their employability skills and what they want to do after university, and the Business School is doing a lot to help them.41 Student Satisfaction with The Business School’s Employability Team is generally very high, a fact reflected by their outstanding performance in the ‘Best Employability Support’ category of the 2013 Teaching Awards.42 However, in an increasingly competitive market, the importance of employability is only going to grow and Business students continue to demand additional support. Modules that prioritise practical work experience like ‘Year in Industry’ or ‘BSc Accounting with KPMG’ were seen as particularly important, and numbers of places on these courses or equivalents must continue to grow. Naturally, this will also require an increase in staff support for these modules, with bespoke training for the course leaders being provided. The Student EQUIS report also clearly indicates that students value modules that weave employability into their teaching, with the compulsory first year module, BSD1000, receiving particular praise as it involves giving first-year students practical experience of working in Business.43 Embedding employability into every module should be a target, to the point where most Business School modules are professionally accredited. This should be the target for 2015. Students have also suggested that some form of accreditation for the skills that they develop in courses would be useful, with formal acknowledgement of their proficiency in skills like computer literacy seen as a useful addition. In particular, recognising proficiency in programmes like Excel that could be regularly used once students graduate has been mentioned by several different students.44

The availability of internships also needs to expand. Again, it is being seen as increasingly important to embed internships within each module, to ensure that employability is at the heart of each course. Specific guidance should also be provided for all first year students so that they are comfortable with applying for internships and doing so at an early stage.

7

Once again, we know that there may be substantial additional costs involved and thus barriers for some students to get involved with these extra opportunities. The Business School should ensure that bursaries are available to students who may need additional support to take up these opportunities and incur extra costs, such as working for free or living outside of Exeter to complete internships and placements to help them fulfil their potential.

One of the most appreciated aspects of the Business School’s careers provision is the Career Mentoring Scheme, allowing undergraduates the chance to work with a professional in an area that interests them.45 Again, the challenge is to extend the scheme to fully incorporate excellent opportunities into every degree. To this end, alumni should be increasingly incentivised to be involved in enhancing the employability prospects of all current students, by offering bespoke career advice in a mentoring capacity. Although initial student participation in this scheme has yet to reach high levels, the scheme is widely accepted as a good idea by student reps consulted on the issue and should continue to grow.

41

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 8.

42

Two individual nominations were shortlisted: http://www.exeterguild.org/academicrep/teachingawards/

43

See EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 19-20 for a good summary of student opinion on this section.

44

Student feedback on Visions, 2013/14, term 1.

45

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 9.

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

8. ENCOURAGING STUDY, WORK AND VOLUNTEERING ABROAD Overall, the Business School at Exeter is, without a doubt, international.There are students from over 80 different countries and staff from 26 which really offers a global learning experience in every way.46

20

One of the things that makes the Business School such a vibrant and exciting place to learn is the incredible cultural diversity that continues to flourish there. In order to thrive in a competitive educational environment, the Business School should take further steps to encourage its students to feel comfortable in an international Business environment.

Furthermore, an increasing number of scholarships must be sought to increase the study abroad opportunities for students from less affluent backgrounds. Ideally, all students should be supported, both financially and pastorally, to the point that they feel entirely comfortable to spend time at an international institution.

The Business School currently has a very impressive array of study abroad opportunities available to students. However, in an international market, study abroad is only going to become more important and it is essential that the number of study abroad placements continues to expand. The current capacity needs to be increased to the point where every student has the opportunity to take part. In the shorter term, the Business School should look to increase capacity so that 25% of students have the opportunity to study abroad at an internationally acclaimed institution by 2015. Naturally, the staff support for study abroad needs to grow concurrently to ensure that all students have sufficient guidance for their placements. Increased consideration should be given to ensuring that The University provides students with a safe and comfortable working environment. In this case, our student s our fortunate to have the benefit of dedicated and caring staff in each college and a great deal of appreciation is recorded each year for their efforts. However, over the course of the autumn term 2013/14 the Students’ Guild has been visited by Exeter students who feel that there is more to be done. For example, students of colour have reported very different experiences of certain countries than they initially expected and have encouraged the Guild to explore how we can better support them before, during, and after their time abroad.47 Some universities already offer this service to their Study Abroad students,48 but it is something that Exeter must continue to develop. It therefore remains a priority of the Students’ Guild to ensure that all students, regardless of financial or ethnic background, can enjoy a safe study abroad experience. To this end, in the 2013/14 academic year, the Guild will work in conjunction with our students, NUS and the colleges to look at how we support all of our students who study abroad.

In order to support this, further promotion and support of Business degrees that contain a foreign language element must be promoted, to supplement the already outstanding selection that are currently supported. Linked to employability enhancement, degrees ‘with a proficiency in’ a certain language must be widely advertised and supported for all students studying a Business degree. We would recommend that the Business School works closely with the Humanities Modern Languages team that has been working with students this year to create a successful peer-led ‘study abroad mentoring programme’. It may also be of interest to the Business School that the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies has also been working with students on providing up to date information for students studying in Arabic countries to help them to prepare.

46

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 18.

47

An example that parallels our students’ concerns can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/08/black-woman-in-berlin

48

http://www.smith.edu/studyabroad/docs/diversity_st_abroad01.pdf


Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

9. STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Special thanks to Charlie Leyland, Exeter’s outgoing Student Engagement Manager, for writing the student engagement content of the Visions.

Teaching evaluations are done via SSLC (Student Staff Liaison Committee), MACE (Module and Course Evaluation) and Peer Review. Students are actively encouraged to share their negative and positive feedback with regards to quality of teaching and this is usually fed back to the lecturer.49 ‘Sometimes I feel like I know only 10 students in every cohort; 5 naughty ones and 5 superengaged ones, it’s hard to say what happens with the rest.’50 The Business School should seek to focus on developing a focused and concise Student Engagement Strategy together with students, the Students’ Guild and their EQE Advisor. Particular attention should be paid to measuring the effectiveness and impact of ongoing or new activities in line with the expectations of the QAA Quality Code chapter B5,51 and in providing opportunities for the diversity of students across the college. The University EQE, Employability, the Students’ Guild and the Business School should continue to build on the ‘good, better, best’ template for each area of student engagement area as informed by educational and other research. This should be clearly communicated to students for self reflection, as well as to staff who can use the framework to understand how to better support effective student engagement. The Business School has investigated and reviewed the Change Agents scheme in the college and has some strong ways in which it will develop this even more next year. Alongside this, there are some specific points and suggestions that the Business School might like to consider. The Business School has a University-leading model for Student Engagement with Quality Assurance and Enhancement with: • local and college-level SSLCs; • clear incentives for student representatives; • previously strong track records of effective Change Agents projects; • training for student representatives to better understand MACE feedback; • supported student submissions for Professional Accrediting bodies such as EQUIS.

49

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 11.

50

Quote from a Business School Academic.

51

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Quality Code Chapter B5: Student Engagement.

Areas for development could include working with the Students’ Guild to consider: • how better to cater for non-traditional and diverse student communities, such as distance learners and mature students; • how better to involve students in programme and curriculum design and delivery; • how to disseminate the use of tools for effective mid-module staff-student dialogue; • involving students in appointment of academic staff; • examining how students can work more closely with external examiners • developing the idea of national and international ‘rep swaps’ to gather and share best practice across like minded institutions, and allow students to develop international competencies and networks.

9

It is clear that efforts are already being made to strengthen the academic community in the college and there are many recommendations that relate to this area, broadly: • Assess induction practices relating to specific student demographics and integration; • Assess transition practices relating to academic integrity; • Develop peer-mentoring projects as in many other University colleges; • Explore how better to support links between the teaching and research communities; The Business School could explore ways in which a higher profile could be given to how it supports extra-curricular activity. We would encourage the college to work closely with student societies and the Students’ Guild Activities & Volunteering hub to run more discipline-linked volunteering projects.

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

10. ATTRACTING, WELCOMING, AND SUPPORTING OUTSTANDING NEW STUDENTS Students definitely agree that the international mix here is a positive rather than a negative.The quality of MBA students is renowned for being particularly high with a great mix of nationalities and cultures, enriching the learning experience once again with one MBA student claiming it felt like he was “learning with the best”.52

Feedback from students consistently highlights that they appreciate the value of working in an international environment with worldclass students. However, the international environment that the Business School has created comes with its own set of challenges, often associated with the progression of new students into their community. This appears to be partially related to language ability and students have suggested extended buddy schemes or mentoring schemes to help smooth this transition.53 As a result, it is imperative that the Business School works alongside INTO to ensure that all students beginning their degree are both capable and confident when they begin work in the college.

Several new students, both postgraduate and undergraduate, have also commented that they believe that there is not a sufficiently thorough induction for new Business School students. Schemes like ‘Global Chums’ and the buddy scheme are effective to a certain extent, but there is still a perception that more needs to be done to help integrate new students into the school. Efforts to ensure that new students are made welcome and have wider reaching support mechanisms need to be increased.The Business School has been a fantastic supporter of the Students’ Guild’s Diversity Month event, and support for this must continue to grow to promote a real sense of international community.55

Furthermore, there are concerns that the lack of supported interaction between different cultural groups can sometimes lead to international students developing more slowly, as they do not have equal opportunities to practice their linguistic skills.

As a final point, it is clear that students’ recognise that the diversity of their cohorts adds to the richness of the experience for everyone. Further to the internationalisation agenda, the Students’ Guild would encourage further development of widening participation activity in the Business School to truly attract the best talent from pools of prospective undergraduates.

Integration is not too evident and there tends to be international clusters as opposed to a balanced mix.There are some initiatives to improve this (for example the Buddy Scheme) but the success of these is limited.54

22

52

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 8.

53

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 6.

54

EQUIS Report, Santos-Murphy et-al, 2012, 3.

55

See ‘Diversity Week Report 2013.’ https://www.exeterguild.org/news/article/6001/Diversity-Week/


Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

TARGETS AND IMPACT MEASURES

The aim of the Students’ Guild is to have a positive impact on the academic and personal experience of all students. It is our hope that the Business School Students’ Vision for the Future of Education will help achieve demonstrable change across the University, culminating in improvements in student satisfaction surveys like MACE and the NSS. In order to ensure progress on each and every issue within the college Visions, the Guild will commit the resources to both check the progress that each college is making on a regular basis, and to supporting colleges to creatively think about how they might meet the challenges and share best practice through the University Student Engagement Network. The following measures have been put in place to follow-up on the 2013 Visions for Education, and track the progress that each college is making in achieving their students’ goals:

Each college will have an elected ‘College Chair,’ a student responsible for liaising with the VP Academic Affairs and reporting on major academic issues within the college. Part of their responsibility will be to assess how effectively each college is responding to their Vision. The VP Academic Affairs, Alex Louch, is committed to ensuring that the recommendations set out in the Visions are adhered too. Alex will oversee progress on the Visions, and raise any concerns with the ADE.

At the end of each term, Research and Representation will produce a short report for each college, responding to how the Visions have been addressed. This report will be student-led, placing our Subject Chairs and College Chairs at the forefront of quality assurance and review. These reports will be published through departmental ELE SSLC pages, ensuring that they are available for every interested student.

The issues arising out of the Visions should be thematically discussed at Student Engagement Network meetings, allowing colleges to share best practice and support creative solutions to the challenges posed.

Through these means, we hope to ensure that the profile of the Visions is increased and that more students will continue to get involved with their education in the future. Finally, we hope to see improvements via feedback from the following sources:

Student monitoring through SSLCs and College Chairs;

Changes to academic misconduct data and exam satisfaction;

NSS, MACE, and PTES results.

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Vision for the Future of Education | BUSINESS SCHOOL

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Vision for the Future of Education: The Business School  

The Students' Guild's vision outlining the top 10 educational priorities that students told us to campaign on.

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