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RGU: Union - Research to understand impact of a planned presence on Garthdee campus

NUS Services Research Team January 2012


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Executive Executive Summary Summary Objectives Objectives Methodology Methodology and and Sample Sample Title Insert picture/chart Results Conclusions Conclusions Recommendations Recommendations Appendices Appendices

Contents Contents


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Executive Executive Summary Summary Objectives Objectives Methodology Methodology and and Sample Sample Title Insert picture/chart Results Conclusions Conclusions Recommendations Recommendations Appendices Appendices

Contents Contents


Executive Summary – Methodology

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Online survey conducted December 2011. 669 responses received A representative sample of students at RGU:Union In person focus groups conducted December 2011 16 representative respondents Research was conducted to gain an understanding of the impact of the moving to the Garthdee campus and understand the vision of the future students‟ union


Executive Summary – Findings • • •

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Current perceptions of RGU:Union hinge on use of commercial services Despite frequent use of RGU:Union services, under a third of respondents are aware of their own membership of the students‟ association Students are overwhelmingly satisfied with the services that RGU:Union provide, where they are used. Whilst a half of respondents respond negatively to the move, the identification of RGU:Union as a commercial and social space drives confusion over the role and purpose of membership services When prompted, the majority of students believe the vision for membership services at Garthdee to be appropriate and inclusive The vast majority of students are supportive of the opportunity for novel or redeveloped membership development services at Garthdee and conceptualise the space as an opportunity to support and enrich day to day academic experience There is a need to communicate a supportive travel plan


Executive Summary - Recommendations • A phased implementation of new and re-launched membership services will drive support of the new function at Garthdee campus • Launch of some services prior to relocation will support the change management in students understanding of RGU:Union • Feedback on RGU:Union successes and benefits via a widely launched benefit statement will develop the membership services landscape • Strong engagement with the institutions‟ travel plan will demonstrate consideration and action of student concerns • A considered communications plan, placing the student at the heart of the change is necessary to engender loyalty prior to move to Garthdee in order to support early adoption of membership services amongst historically disengaged students.


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Executive Executive Summary Summary Objectives Objectives Methodology Methodology and and Sample Sample Title Insert picture/chart Results Conclusions Conclusions Recommendations Recommendations Appendices Appendices

Contents Contents


Research Objectives

Overall Objective • To inform the operational plan in relocating RGU:Union to the Garthdee campus Research Objectives • Understand the usage of the student‟s union • Gain insight into reactions to the changes and the strengths / opportunities for development within the changes proposed in the relocation plan. • Understand impact of move on usage and engagement • What are the unmet needs within the relocation plan? • How do students envisage the future of the students‟ union, in their own words and what membership service does this entail?


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Executive Executive Summary Summary Objectives Objectives Methodology Methodology and and Sample Sample Title Insert picture/chart Results Conclusions Conclusions Recommendations Recommendations Appendices Appendices

Contents Contents


Methodology and Sample

• Quantitative online survey:

Survey Flow

– Demographics – Existing perceptions of RGU:Union – Existing usage of RGU:Union – Reactions to move to Garthdee campus – Vision for a vibrant Garthdee campus


Quant

Methodology and Sample Demographics Sex, Age, Region, Year of study and place of study. Existing Perceptions of RGU:Union Distance of home from university, mode of travel for holiday periods. Existing Usage of RGU:Union Frequency of visits to the studentsâ€&#x; union, awareness of commercial advertising in their union.


Quant

Methodology and Sample Reactions to the move to Garthdee campus Use of the train in the last 6 months, responsibility for payment of fares, awareness and usage of competitor websites. Vision for a vibrant Garthdee campus Awareness and likelihood to consider using competitor websites, ways used to book tickets for specific types of journeys, likelihood of using a dedicated mobile app.


Quant

Methodology and Sample • Survey sample: – – – –

Balanced sample Total response 669 students A representative mix of gender (62% Female, 38% Male)* 70% described themselves as UK citizens studying in the UK

• Reflective mix of Year groups 1st Year UG

2nd Year UG

3rd Year UG

4th Year UG

PG Masters

PG Doctorate

19% (n=127)

18% (n=119)

16% (n=107)

19% (n=124)

21% (n=137)

3% (n=21)

Q10. What year of your current course are you in? (n=653) * HESA statistics for 2009/2010 show 56.6% of students in HE are female


Methodology and Sample

• Qualitative focus group discussion guide: Discussion Flow

– Introduction – The RGU: Union story - Usage and Awareness of RGU:Union – Reactions to move to Garthdee campus – Vision for a vibrant Garthdee campus


Qual

Methodology and Sample Pre screener Sex, Age, Year of study and existing involvement with RGU:Union Introduction Icebreaker to encourage fluent discussion The RGU: Union Story Spontaneous history of awareness and usage of the association, prompts on experiences, attitudes and perceptions


Qual

Methodology and Sample Reactions to the move to Garthdee campus Strengths of plan, Weaknesses of plan, Impact of move on self and others, anticipated impact on engagement Vision for a vibrant Garthdee campus Unmet needs within plan, description of the “land of RGU: Union� on Garthdee campus, closing remarks


Qual

Methodology and Sample • Survey sample: – Total 16 students – A representative mix of gender (56%, n=9 Female, 44%, n=7 Male) – 62% (n=10) described themselves as UK citizens studying in the UK – 50% (n=8) did not self identify as members of RGU:Union clubs, societies or sports teams – 62% (n=10) undergraduate students, 38% (n=6) post graduate students


Title

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Executive Executive Summary Summary Objectives Objectives Methodology Methodology and and Sample Sample Title Insert picture/chart Results Conclusions Conclusions Recommendations Recommendations Appendices Appendices

Contents Contents


Title

Contents Results

• Executive Summary – Demographics • Objectives – Existing perceptions of RGU:Union • –Methodology and Sample Existing usage of RGU:Union • –Title Reactions to move to Garthdee campus Insert picture/chart Vision for a vibrant Garthdee campus • –Conclusions • Recommendations • Appendices Results combine qual and quant research techniques; the research source is denoted at the top of each slide


Title

Let me introduce you - Demographics


Quant

A youthful group‌.

• Over half (52%) of respondents are aged 16-24 years Age? (n=666) 30.0%

28.5%

25.0%

22.5%

20.0%

15.0% 9.3%

10.0%

8.6%

5.0%

3.5% 1.7% 0.2%

0.0% 16-17 years

18-20 years

21-24 years

Q3 What was your age on the 1st December 2011?

25-29 years

30-40 years

41-54 years

55-64 years


Quant

Gender Representation….

• Representation of both genders – Note that HESA stats show that 57% of students in Higher Education are female

Q3 What was your age on the 1st December 2011?


Quant

Over two thirds identify as White:British or White:Irish‌.

Q4 To which of the following ethnic groups do you belong?


Quant

Variety in living circumstance‌.

• Almost half of respondents live in privately let accommodation

Q7 Where do you live during university term time?


Quant

International representation‌.

• 30% of respondents are from overseas For the purposes of your tuition fees and funding, which of these statements best describes you? 11.9%

I am a UK citizen studying in the UK 18.1% I am an EU citizen studying in the UK

70.0%

Q8 For the purposes of your tuition fees and funding, which of these statements best describes you?

I am a non-EU citizen studying in the UK


Quant

Excellent representation of year groups‌.

Q10 Which year of your current course are you in?


Quant

Representation across faculties‌.

Q11 Which faculty are you studying at?


Title

Existing perceptions of RGU:Union


Quant

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Opportunity to use relocation to increase awareness of membership of RGU:Union

With only 30% of respondents aware of their membership of RGU:Union, the relocation plan offers an opportunity to clarify universal membership and position itself as integral to the student experience

Q12 Are you a member of RGU:Union


Qual

Awareness of the breadth of function of RGU:Union is weak

Respondents cite a common lack of knowledge as to what the union is able to provide (n=4), citing that usage would increase with greater understanding of breadth of function • Note that even those who engage through societies and sports teams (n=8) consistently demonstrate gaps in their knowledge of the wider function of RGU:Union “If we know more about the Students’ Union then we might be able to make use of it more. Once a year they send an email around telling you about an election and about who wants to do what. You don’t want to vote though because you don’t know what they do” (F, Third year part-time MSc in Computer Science)

• Awareness of RGU:Union was typically restricted on word association to: • Clubs and societies • Sports team • Commercial outlets • Social events • However a minority (n=3) did cite it as a place for welfare / support


Quant

Two fifths of respondents visit RGU:Union at least once a fortnight

Opportunity to engage the two fifths who visit the union “never” or “Just once or twice during my time at university”

Q13 How often, if at all, do you visit RGU:Union ?


Qual

Awareness of the values of RGU:Union is confused • •

Respondents perceive the values of RGU union in different ways Segmentation of respondents according to engagement with RGU:Union indicated that: • Those with no engagement understand RGU:Union as offering a social space • Those engaging with membership development services only see RGU:Union as a facility for student support • Those engaging with clubs and societies and / or sports teams, report a complex relationship with the union in the need for additional resourcing for societies in terms of physical equipment and committee support • Those using RGU:Union for both membership services and societies cite RGU:Union as a place where students can „belong‟ “I think it’s really important.. It’s good to know that you have somewhere to meet up with people for group meetings, or whatever else. We’d be lost without it. We don’t have an area like that other than the Union”. (F Second Year Pharmacy)


Quant • •

A lack of awareness of the remit of RGU:Union depresses use

Lack of use is driven by poor awareness rather than negative experience Please see following slide for „other‟

Q14 Which, if any, of the following reasons describe why you have not visited RGU:Union n?


Quant • •

Distance learners are less likely to visit RGU:Union

Unsurprisingly the most common prompted reason for not attending RGU:Union is as part of a distance learning course Note that larger words represent more frequent mention

Q14 Which, if any, of the following reasons describe why you have not visited RGU:Union n?


Quant

Agreement that RGU:Union enriches the student experience •

A lack of clarity on the purpose of RGU:Union drives weak agreement with statements, however half agree that RGU:Union enriches the individual experience at university and improves the university on the individual‟s behalf A student facing benefits statement is likely to improve awareness of impact of RGU:Union

Q19 To what extent, if at all, do you agree with the following statements?


Title

Existing usage of RGU:Union


Quant

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Commercial and recreational functions are well known; membership development functions will benefit from repositioning on move to Garthdee

Respondents associate the Union with the Bar, clubs and societies, but this result indicates that very few know of the Student Representative Support

Q15 Which, if any, of the following functions have you heard of?


Qual

Social and recreational aspects of RGU:Union are better used than membership development services

Spontaneous • • •

Respondents universally report awareness of the social aspect of RGU:Union through use of the bar and café Societies and clubs run a close second in awareness And there is some confusion over whether the sports teams are independent of RGU:Union Prompted

Membership services are recalled with prompting, however their delivery is unclear “I’d rather go to InfoZone on St. Andrews Street. InfoZone has something like student services, and I’d go to them rather than to the Union. If I have any issues I’d go to InfoZone straight away. I wouldn’t even think about coming to the Union”. (M, PhD in the School of Pharmacy in my first year)


Quant

Consistent with awareness, membership development will benefit from a relaunch upon move to Garthdee

•

Usage of RGU:Union services strongly correlates with the awareness at Q15, indicating real potential for strong growth in membership development

Q16 Which, if any, of the following functions have you used?


Quant

With commercial functions most widely used, the move to Garthdee offers potential to engage the 25% with no existing preconceptions of RGU:Union

Q17 Which, if any, of the following functions do you use most frequently?


Quant

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Extremely high satisfaction with RGU:Union services, however opportunity to increase top end satisfaction

Usage of RGU:Union services strongly correlates with the awareness at Q15, indicating real potential for strong growth in membership development

Q18 How satisfied, if at all, were you with each of the following services that you used?


Title

Reactions to move to Garthdee Campus


Qual

Mixed reactions to relocation plan however no dispute of the function of RGU:Union

Whilst responses to a relocation was mixed, all respondents (n=16) spontaneously made the case that a students‟ association was essential to their student experiences

““The Union is the symbol for our university life. Even the students at Aberdeen know that the Union is for us, and it’s ours. If someone says they are going to the Union then they are going here, not to some other university. It might miss the point of student association in general, but it’s still a symbol for us, for student social life”. (M third year undergraduate in Applied Social Sciences, member of clubs)


Quant

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In the first instance, almost half of responses to the relocation plan are negative

However, the limited current engagement drives uncertainty or neutrality amongst almost 30% or respondents, indicative of potential to re-engage historically disengaged students

Q20 Please tell us whether your reaction to the relocation of RGU:Union to the Garthdee campus is positive or negative


Quant

Negativity surrounding move hinges on preconceptions of RGU:Union as a commercial hub Positive The proximity of services to lectures is attractive to many

“The union will be closer to where all the students are and I think people would perhaps go to the union more because it is on campus.”

Neutral Typically driven by those who will not be present at RGU in 2013 “Should be finished my course by then, so not really bothered”

Negative

Negative responses hinge on preconception of RGU:Union as a commercial hub for „pre drinks‟ Concerns around transport need to be met in communications surrounding the move, with many respondents anxious that representation will not be possible without a commute to Garthdee “There is nothing to do in Garthdee and most people live in the City Centre so I feel evenings/weekends at the Union would be dead.” Q21 – please tell us, in your own words, why you have selected the answer to your previous question


Qual

Change management planning is necessary to dissociate RGU:Union from commercial / social connotations

Whilst over half of respondents (n=10) stated a negative response to the relocation of RGU:Union to Garthdee, this was in many cases a reaction to being able to dissociate the commercial / social value of the current students‟ association building “People will go into town, and not out to Garthdee – they will be at a loss of income (n=5)

The remaining strong negativity hinged on concerns over the travel arrangements to Garthdee with specific concerns regarding: • Length of journey • Cost of transport • Frequency of public transport • Overcrowding on public transport Lack of understanding of institution responsibility for relocation


Qual

The cohesiveness and accessibility of a Garthdee location drives the strengths of the move

Weaknesses • Travel to Garthdee if not there for lectures • Lack of commercial structure • Confusion over purpose of membership services • Cost of transport ““Aberdeen University dropped their city centre Union. They’ve got a Union on their Hill Head campus, which is a bit like Rosemount Hill. The turnover there isn’t that big. The people don’t really like it” (F, PhD Pharmacist, SW)

Strengths • Convenience • Proximity to lectures • Integration of academic and non academic function • Greater welfare opportunities • Opportunity to increase student identity with RGU:Union


Quant

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Cohesive agreement that membership development will benefit from the relocation to Garthdee Given a context of low engagement with membership development services (see section on usage), there is consistent agreement that the Garthdee location is highly appropriate, supporting the proposed vision for relocation

Q22, please tell us to what extent, if at all, you agree that these services should be based at Garthdee


The move to Garthdee will directly impact over half of respondents, however emphatic positioning work is needed to encourage early adoption of membership services

Quant

Q23 Please indicate to what extent you agree or disagree with the statements below


Qual

• • •

Personal impact on students revolves around loss of a socialising venue and transport difficulties

Qualitatively, respondents struggled to vocalise positive benefits to the move The plans are felt to impact a variety of audiences, with many respondents voicing vocal concern over the loss of a venue to socialise in Many felt that the students who were obliged to attend fewest lectures would be affected the most, through lack of proximity to RGU:Union as a result of many living in private lets in the city centre However the greatest impact on students was stated to be the commute from Aberdeen centre, with almost all students (n=15) citing this to be a major factor to an aspirational demographic , typically choosing to live in a vibrant city centre


Quant

Very strong agreement that the relocation of membership services will have no negative impact

Q24 Please tell us to what extent,, if at all, you agree that these services should be based at Garthdee


Quant

The proportion of respondents who are more likely to engage at Garthdee outweigh those who are less likely in every instance – net positive gain

Q25 Which, if any, of the RGU:Union functions would you be likely to engage with?


Qual

Respondents begin to visualise benefits to relocation when discussing their anticipated personal engagement with RGU:Union at Garthdee

Membership services are not front of mind when considering RGU:Union, however half of respondents (n=8) recognise that a Garthdee presence could drive personal use of membership services and societies ““I would probably use the things more. You don’t really have an excuse. If it’s a Wednesday and you’ve finished your lectures then it’s going to be a five minute walk and you don’t have an excuse. I’d probably do a lot more society stuff”. (M, First Year Accounting and Finance,)

However, there are some concerns over safety if RGU:Union is used after lectures on the Garthdee campus


Title

Vision for a vibrant RGU:Union


Qual

Operationally, a clear communications plan, with explicit description of the vision for RGU:Union will support realignment of perceptions of RGU:Union

With transport driving the majority of concerns regarding the relocation, the institution's transport plan should form an integral part of communication plans Furthermore, support on accommodation choices is requested by a minority, to ensure that those who choose to live closer to Garthdee are not doing so at any compromise to their safety Clear description of infrastructure to be communicated to all students, and future students.


Quant

Strong demand for many novel membership services at Garthdee campus with little or no antipathy to suggested services

Q27 Please tell us to what extent, if at all, you would like to see each service below on the Garthdee campus


Qual

The land of RGU:Union at Garthdee

Focus group outputs The land of RGU:Union (spontaneous)

Heterogeneous. A „mish-mash‟ – rather than all being segregated by institutions, all faculties will be together (n=3)

What does it look like?

“Modern” (n=4), “Airy” (n=1), “A lot of windows and high ceilings” (n=1), “comfortable” (n=1), Busier in the day / between classes (n=2)

Who?

“Everyone” (n=16), “Guest speakers” (n=2)

What are they doing?

Interacting between lecture (n=5), meetings (n=1), informal socialising / common room (n=3)

What are they thinking?

“Chilled”, “at ease” or relaxed (n=3), planning for future lectures (n=3), “happy” (n=2)


Qual

Feedback to union focuses on a reluctance to accept planned changes If you could feedback just one thing about the future plans for RGU: Union to the students’ association, what would it be?

• • • • •

Transport (n=5): Subsidised bus links to the city centre Consultation: “Ask students when and what they are going to use the Union for. Research with the students” (n=2) Accommodation (n=3): Queries surround finding alternatives to halls if the commute from the city centre is undesirable (n=2) Student community: Use the relocation to build a student village, not a campus Commercial outlets: Requests for cafes (n=2)


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Executive Executive Summary Summary Objectives Objectives Methodology Methodology and and Sample Sample Title Insert picture/chart Results Conclusions Conclusions Recommendations Recommendations Appendices Appendices

Contents Contents


Conclusions – Perceptions of RGU:Union (1) • Knowledge of membership is just under one third of respondents, with a similar number stating that they are not members and two fifths unclear of their status •This is juxtaposed by the 40% who visit RGU:Union at least once a fortnight; members are using their facilities without recognising their role in the membership • The union is seen as a place to socialise and engage in activities, indicative of the need to reposition upon the move to Garthdee, in order to reshape the student identification with the union


Conclusions – Perceptions of RGU:Union (2) • The confusion in the remit of RGU:Union drives segmentation of perceptions •The majority perceive a social / recreational space •Those in societies expect organisational support •And those aware of membership services identify RGU:Union as a place for student support

•Almost one quarter of the students who do not visit the union are unaware of what it offers • However, these are frequently distance learners •Identification with the union mission is relatively weak, however, only a very small minority of respondents criticise the work of RGU:Union


Conclusions – Awareness and Usage of RGU:Union • A need exists to shift perceptions of the union. Awareness of the bar, shop, café and societies is very high, and usage is proportional to this.

• Where services are used, satisfaction is extremely high, however greater top end satisfaction with all services will engender greater loyalty with RGU:Union, which will support in the move to Garthdee


Conclusions – Reactions to relocation plans (1) • To baseline reactions, conclusions should be underpinned by the very strong expectation and demand for the existence of RGU:Union. The relocation plans do not throw the value of the students‟ association into question.

• 48% of respondents respond negativley to the proposed move, however this is placed in context with the current perceptions, expectation and relationship with RGU:Union – as a social / recreational hub • Note that 46% of respondents are positive or neutral about the move •The dissociation with commercial services and increased onus and investment into membership development will support the change management and conceptual shift which is needed in managing the move to Garthdee


Conclusions – Reactions to relocation plans (2) • Respondents are positive about the accessibility of membership services, particularly for day to day opportunities for support • Transport, lack of commercial services and a lack of awareness of membership services drive a hesitance to accept the move to Garthdee • Seven out of ten respondents agree that membership services based at Garthdee will be highly appropriate to the situation


Conclusions – Reactions to relocation plans (3) • Early adoption at Garthdee will benefit from a personal approach, putting the individual in the centre of the move • For example, try new things, visit us more often, etc •The proportion of those less likely to engage with membership services after the move is consistently outweighed by those who are more likely to engage • No consideration of snowballing effect


Conclusions – vision for a vibrant RGU:Union • Students are excited by the opportunity to try new things, with over half keen for: • New student media • Greater recreational opportunity • Information on volunteering abroad •Student harbour a vision for a student centric space to support and enrich the environment for academic and personal gain.


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Executive Executive Summary Summary Objectives Objectives Methodology Methodology and and Sample Sample Title Insert picture/chart Results Conclusions Conclusions Recommendations Recommendations Appendices Appendices

Contents Contents


Recommendations – Current recommendations • Plans for current and future students at RGU:Union should consider distance learners in order to drive support of and engagement with initiatives • A student facing benefits statement will increase awareness of breadth of function, prior to the move to Garthdee • Investment into awareness of membership development functions prior to the move will support the change of identification of RGU:Union function amongst members • Periodic satisfaction „temperature checks‟ will measure the increase in satisfaction and generation of loyalty over time


Recommendations – future strategy • The development of the plan for membership services should be shaped by the members and commence, in part, prior to the relocation. This will demonstrate the wider benefit of RGU:Union to members and support the change management in the conceptual shift of function. • Perceptions of RGU:Union‟s relationship with the institution is good. Strong engagement with the intuitions travel plan will generate goodwill and demonstrate action in representation of student concerns • The relocation should be heralded by a strong communications campaign, supported by launch events for new initiatives


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Executive Executive Summary Summary Objectives Objectives Methodology Methodology and and Sample Sample Title Insert picture/chart Results Conclusions Conclusions Recommendations Recommendations Appendices Appendices

Contents Contents


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Executive Summary Objectives Methodology and Sample Appendix Title Insert picture/chart Conclusions Recommendations Appendices

Contents


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