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Research and Insight

Student Voice Reports

Student Voice Report

Each year, the Students' Union conducts research into the student experience. Most of this research is included in the Student Voice Report.

The Student Voice Report is the main lobbying and advocacy tool produced by the Students' Union. This report establishes clear actions, priorities and goals which can be reached through a joint partnership with students and the University. The report considers feedback, both positive and negative, to give a fair and balanced view of what is working well, and what could be improved at Sheffield Hallam University. We, as a Students' Union and representative body for students, recommend actions based on student feedback and previous academic year's recommendations and actions are presented in every Student Voice Report.

View Student Voice Report 2020/21

2020/21 Student Voice Report Recommendations

Track the progress of our 2020/21 Student Voice Report recommendations.

KEY: Completed | In progress | Pending

Teaching and learning

1. The University to continue to review and monitor students’ digital needs, in line with future planning regarding blended learning, and to continue to provide support for students’ with the highest needs.

 

The University has raised the Student Success Scholarship budget for the 5th year running, with extra money allocated to digital poverty in 2020/21 now incorporated into the fund for 2021/22. This will allow the University to ensure that all students in receipt of the Student Success Scholarship can afford a laptop should they need to. The University are also working on 4 key area improvements to services, with the aim of reducing wait times for specialist software, addressing problems students have with access to IT services, and to update software and guidance materials available to students. To support ongoing engagement with students and enable clearer communication, the University now has a dedicated web site for IT services and information.

 

2. The University and the Students’ Union enter into an improved data sharing agreement that will allow for joint understanding and sharing of relevant research and insight information.

 

The University and the Students' Union now have an improved data sharing agreement which covers two areas: one for the regular sharing of data to enable the Students' Union to enrol students as members and another for seperate data processing to cover the sharing of student personal data information to ensure fair access.

 

3. The University to review what has worked this academic year, in line with student opinion, to make informed decisions about delivery for any future blended learning.

 

The University have recently launched a Student Voice Repository which is a collation of research and insight work from across the University into a singular, monthly report. The University have also gathered student feedback through the Spaces and Places Survey. Key themes identified by student feedback so far: more time needed to move between sessions regardless of mode of delivery; changes to timetables at short notice are still a disruption; students see advantages of online learning most when it can be completed remotely; online learning needs to be organised and communicated well; students value the community provided by on-campus learning; and student wellbeing is supported by good organisation and management of teaching and learning.

 

4. The College of Business, Technology & Engineering to build assessment support sessions into student timetables, to ensure that students are given ample opportunity to understand and ask questions.

 

Exam support has been an area of focus within the College, particularly for Engineering and Maths. A range of focused activity is taking place, including Blackboard announcements when a sample paper is available, for module briefings, or additional support for students regarding exams, phase tests, or ICTA.

 

5. The College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences to improve process and communication of placement allocation in Health and Social Care, and to broaden placement opportunities for the Academy of Sport & Physical Activity and the Department of Biosciences & Chemistry.

 

HWLS placement leads are focusing on developing personal connections with students and placement staff. Currently they are using a face-to-face drop-in clinic for students to visit physically; work is ongoing to investigate an online service. Sport have introduced sandwich placements for the first time this year; the department is working increase number of placements with uptake supported by the introduction of Handshake for students and employers to connect regarding placements.

 

6. The College of Social Sciences & Arts to review and reflect on the impact COVID19 has had on access to learning materials, equipment, and/or learning spaces, and to take lessons from this in terms of student experience going forwards.

 

The recommendation refers to difficulties students faced during Coronavirus lockdown. The University have continued to work to ensure that equipment, resources, materials, and creative activites are available digitally. This has also allowed for good practice to continue in terms of accessibility and alternative assessment. The College is working to ensure that work is aligned to student experience priorities more broadly.

Wellbeing

7. The University and the Students’ Union to work together to provide targeted mental wellbeing initiatives to enhance LGBTQ+ student mental health.

 

The Students' Union appointed a Wellbeing Project Assistant (student staff role) to support a specific project to address this recommendation. This student and the SU are working with E.D.E.N, an award winning social enterprise, which focusses on mental health and the LGBTQ+ community. Recruitment for student participants is still underway to take part in the project.

 

8. The University to ensure that, at a course level, students are provided opportunities to collaborate, whilst future learning allocates this for sense of community to build.

 

The University and the Students' Union have a collaborations group which meets to share good practice and develop in the following areas: ways to enhance academic staff knowledge of Union activity; increase visibility and involvement of students into social sports; what both organisations can do to enhance student well-being; and the international students experience.

 

9. The University and the Students’ Union to work together, during Welcome Back Week and beyond, to re-introduce and publicise the Hallam support offer to ensure that students are always aware of and know how to access support should they need it.

 

This year, the University and the Students' Union worked together during Welcome to offer a variety of on-campus and digital events. Information about key calls to actions and the university support offer is communicated to students, pre-arrival, via a variety of platforms and communication methods including the Hallam Welcome HUB, where students are encouraged to engage in the prepare and explore sections, and via email and social media. There a number of ways that students can access support, such as through their Academic Adviser, Student Support Adviser, HallamHelp, Careers Support, Disabled Students' Supprt, and Student Wellbeing.

 

10. The University to ensure that students are provided with information about ways to look after their wellbeing directly from academic staff that they are in regular contact with.

 

All students should have regular contact with their Academic Adviser and Academic Advisers are given information about well-being and motivation, which staff can send to students as required. There is also Wellbeing Connect in parts of the College of SSA that academic staff can direct students in need towards. Work is still ongoing with this recommendation.

Being a student in 2021

11. The University and the Students’ Union continue to monitor student financial needs to ensure that those that need help the most are aware of hardship funding.

 

The University has made changes to the Student Success Scholarship in 2021/22 following feedback received and will consult with Student Union Officers before decisions are made on how best to deploy any extra funding made available in-year.

 

12. The Students’ Union to launch a University-wide campaign on student housing rights, sharing information about their rights and where to access support if they need it.

 

The Students' Union ran a small social media campaign on Instagram which focussed on housing despair (and included promoting Snug) and signposted students to the Advice Centre. As part of January 2022 Welcome, the SU ran a Housing Fair where students were provided with information about the Advice Centre and Student Rights Team on housing rights, what students are entitled to, and distributed cheat sheets with tips for finding good quality housing. In coming months, more work will be underway.

 

13. The Students’ Union to continue to work on its new strategy and ambition to deliver outstanding representation, working with the University to further develop the representation system and ensure that accountable personnel are allocated within Colleges and Departments.

 

The Students' Union Representation & Democracy Team are working closely with University staff to ensure that this recommendation is met. The University has continued to support this work through additional funding which will ensure that student voice activity is acted upon and aligned to NSS Common Priorities. The Students' Union and key University staff meet once per month, or more, with both College Heads of Teaching & Learning Enhancement and Student Experience Leads. This means that regular updates and work are shared. Students' Union staff also help to problem solve, share ideas, and identify shared goals as part of representation work. There continues to be a joint meeting where decisions regarding representation takes places (Student Representation Steering Group).

For any earlier versions of the Student Voice Report, please email us at uusresearch@shu.ac.uk.