Human Geography ranked 11th nationally for teaching satisfaction and tops London Russell Group universities for teaching and academic support. Physical Geography scores top in London Russell Group universities on student voice.
The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) 2023 are in! This annual UK-wide survey is carried out to gather final year students’ opinions on the quality of their courses. NSS is about listening to students' collective experiences across their time at university and encouraging Schools to act on that feedback for the benefit of future students.
This year’s survey revealed elevated positive results about the School of Geography’s undergraduate degree programmes on measures including quality of teaching, learning opportunities, assessment and feedback, academic support and student voice. 78.2% of the School’s finalists completed the survey, above the national response rate of 71.5%, giving the results added significance.
Key highlights from the NSS 2023 results include:
Positivity about Human Geography: Human Geography achieved an overall ranking of 11th in the country for satisfaction with course teaching (92.9%), with improvements in national ranking across six of the seven sections of the survey. The School is the highest rated Russell Group university in London for both positivity about teaching and academic support (89.3%) on Human Geography programmes. Human Geography respondents, for example, unanimously agreed that teaching staff were good at explaining things and that their course was intellectually stimulating (both 100%).
We listen to and act on our students’ feedback: Both Human Geography and Physical Geographical Sciences saw increases in national ranking on the student voice theme, with Physical Geographical Sciences leading all London Russell Group universities in this measure. The School exceeded the national benchmark standard for students believing that their feedback on a course was acted upon. In Human Geography, for example, 92.9% agreed that they felt free to express their ideas, opinions and beliefs, with an additional 84.6% agreeing that students' opinions about the course are valued by staff.
A supportive learning environment: Responses across the survey’s different themes reveal that students are positive about the School’s learning environment. The School improved its national rankings for Physical Geographical Sciences in the teaching, learning opportunities and feedback survey sections. In Human Geography, 92.9% of students responded positively that teaching staff support learning well and 89.3% were positive about academic support received during their studies. In Environmental Science, 83.3% of respondents positively report teaching staff are good at explaining things.
Feedback from the School’s finalists makes a difference. In response to our NSS 2022 results, for example, we acted on student feedback in the following areas across 2023:
We heard that students wanted more social and working spaces in the School building, so we opened-up formerly staff-only areas for use by the School’s undergraduate students.
We heard that students wanted more support with their dissertations beyond their regularly scheduled one-to-one supervisions, so we delivered additional dissertation workshops for all students on key themes linked to analysing and writing up their independent research.
We heard that students wanted to refresh key academic skills across their degree programmes, so we scheduled a week-long support and assessment readiness programme including drop-in sessions on notetaking, reading effectively and writing critically.
We also created new staff roles in the School to lead on the strengthening of our academic support services for all students and to develop a calendar of academic, social and employability events that benefit students across our learning community.
Professor Kavita Datta, Head of the School of Geography, welcomed the NSS results: “We take pride in providing a transformative educational experience that inspires students to make exciting discoveries, challenge preconceived ideas and reach their full potential. These results reflect the dedication of everyone in the School to achieving that goal, including academic colleagues, professional services staff and - most of all - our students.”
The full results and analysis of NSS 2023 can be found on the Office for Students website.