Each year, we conduct research into the student experience and include it in a Student Voice Report. 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.

The Student Voice Report is our main lobbying and advocacy tool to drive real, tangible change for students across all campuses. The report sets out clear actions, priorities, and goals which can be reached through a joint partnership with students and the University. As the representative body for students, we recommend actions based on student feedback and previous academic years' recommendations, and these actions are presented in every Student Voice Report.

Student Voice Report x 10 years

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Student Voice Report! Since its introduction, we’ve focused our efforts on improving student experience across campus based on what matters most to you. As we reflect on the last ten years, we acknowledge the achievements made possible by student recommendations and feedback.

Top 10 wins from the Student's Union

Based on your feedback we've addressed issues most relevant to Hallam students, such as tackling costs and developing academic resources to help you succeed in your education.

Here are just a handful of things your Students' Union has made possible:

2021/22 Student Voice Report

As we look ahead, we are keen to continue creating change that students want to see; our working partnership with the University plays a vital role in achieving this.

The 2021/22 Student Voice Report shows the wins accomplished over the 2021/22 academic year.

View full report (online) View full report (PDF)


See the progress of our 2021/22 Student Voice Report recommendations.

What do you think about our progress? Tell us what you think about the University and the Students’ Union’s responses to the Student Voice Report here.

KEY: Completed | In progress | Pending

Our learning experiences

1. The University to provide more on-campus learning throughout the 2022/23 academic year, whilst also keeping useful aspects of online learning in place.


Students now have more on campus learning and less online teaching. The University is reviewing its digital provision.


2. The Students’ Union to continue to monitor and research students’ opinions of transition throughout their undergraduate course.


We will will continue to monitor students’ opinion of transition throughout their undergraduate course through the ‘Hallam, How Are We Doing?’ surveys, in November, March, and May. We are planning to specifically research students’ transitions in Semester 2 of the 2022/23 academic year.


3. The University to provide further support for students on how to interpret and utilise their feedback to benefit students’ academic progression.


The Skills Centre offers One-to-One sessions, which provide a space for students to discuss their feedback and helps them to plan their next assignments, as well as signposting to other services. Workshops at the Skills Centre develop students' capacity to reflect and clarify why they have done well in an assignment or where they can make further improvements and outlines the expectations around the assessment process


4. The College of Business, Technology, & Engineering to clearly communicate to students their specific exam arrangements.


Exam timetables are now published on student timetables several weeks in advance (timetables for the January 2023 exams were made available on 18th November, 2022). Whilst some exams are still being delivered online, most exams are now in person, on campus; some exams have been converted to practical assessments. Some students were anxious about the return to in person, on campus exams - exam preparation and extra support sessions will be offered to all students. Students are encouraged to contact their module leaders about any exam issues.


5. The College of Health, Wellbeing & Life Sciences to provide regular and consistent communication for Health & Social Care students which should include the following: placement allocation, changes to timetabling, keeping students updated, and general student support.


The (newly expanded) college placement team are reviewing their communications processes regarding placement allocations for all health and social care students. In particular for nursing students requiring recovery placement support to enable them to meet their placement hours requirement, a college silver group has been established led by Toni Schwarz. Toni, and the department lead for placement recovery, are leading the communication with students regarding their recovery placements and the associated support. This has included face to face meetings with student representatives and the student cohort, and regular email updates.


6. The College of Social Sciences & Arts to standardise communication with students to ensure that key messages are being heard by all.


The College of Social Sciences & Arts is reviewing communication strategies in the departments and how they are used by staff with students. Student perspectives will be included in this review, including how students communicate to their peers. The aim will be to have a clearer picture of communications across the college with a view to ensuring clarity of purpose and an understanding of what and how methods are experienced best by our students.


7. The University to continually update students on projects designed to eliminate the BAME awarding gap to ensure that students made aware and held accountable.


A key area of student engagement is the joint #decolhallam project between Academic Development and Diversity and your Students’ Union. This will bear fruit in the current round of curriculum structures revalidations in all departments. Other key points of engagement are the rollout of the minoritised student groups in each department and the opportunity these present for students from minoritised groups to be given a voice to express their experience at the University. This complements the listening rooms project. The university’s student communications are being reviewed for inclusive language and imagery to foster a strong sense of identification and belonging.

Our well-being and community

10. The University to increase awareness of student well-being service and resources available through co-produced slides on display pre/post lectures.


Charlie Breen, your Wellbeing, Sport and Physical Activity Officer, is keen to do work with the University on this.


11. The Students’ Union continue to monitor student need regarding menstrual product accessibility to ensure an inclusive learning experience for all students.


In September 2021, we launched the Caught Short on Campus Scheme, where students and staff can approach help desk points to ask for period products free of charge. A recent survey was completed by 202 students and highlighted accessibility barriers to the Caught Short scheme. We recently planned and funded a small pilot of free products in select toilets and we're currently analysing this data to try to persuade the University to fund & supply free period products in university toilets. We are planning a period product subscription scheme for 250 students, to ensure that they have the products required to cover their cycle. They will be able to apply to the scheme on the SHU Student Wellbeing webpage or our webpage; once the subscription is confirmed they will be able to pick up 3-month worth of menstrual products from selected locations. This scheme will run to give them a years’ worth of product. The scheme is not currently up as we are awaiting an update on our funding application to the Hallam Fund - we are hoping to launch it so students can collect their first packs in January.


12. The University to review student community and provide tailored events and activities for each level of study, recognising the nuanced differences between academic levels.


The University's ‘Re-imagining community’ has engaged colleagues across the University and the SU to explore the current state of community at Hallam and to identify the conditions required for a community at Hallam to thrive. Three priorities are being progressed:


1) Provide new student jobs on campus - 47 new Influential Student Community Leaders were recruited in October, 2022 (via Handshake). 13 project bids from Hallam staff for the new student community leaders have been approved so far, with potential of 107 student opportunities.


2) Review the level of subsidy for the campus offer in order to attract community, and respond to the cost of living crisis. £1 Wednesdays, and an ‘Eat Together for Less’ breakfast and lunch offer has been well-received. Two table tennis tables, two table football tables and a pool table have been purchased for the Atrium Level 2 at City Campus.


3) Co-design new student-centric home spaces, a campus wide student commons, and permeability with civic spaces.


13. The Students’ Union to review Collegiate Campus presence to increase student activity and engagement.


We've included Collegiate Campus in our Students' Union Visibility Project Action Plan. You can find us, every day, in the Students' Union office in the Heart of Campus building or you can book appointments with the Advice Centre on Wednesday and Friday mornings. Our Cost-of-Living Campaign will launch in January at Collegiate - look out for our Swap Shop!


14. The University and the Students’ Union to provide more information for international students with families about the considerations involved in finding somewhere to live - and ensure this is better publicised to them before they and their families leave their home country. The University to work to increase the number of partners within the Snug scheme who can provide family accommodation.


We are drafting a comprehensive section on this topic for the Students’ Union Advice Centre’s International advice webpage. The aim is to have this in place before the Christmas 2022 vacation. We have provided feedback and suggestions to the University about their revised information, in particular, that they signpost information earlier in the application process, e.g., on the postgraduate application form, on international offer letters, etc.


The University's working group on the international experience has a subgroup, with Campus Services, focused on accommodation. International Experience and Student Recruitment have been looking at the issues around those travelling with dependants for the past 18 months. Accommodation webpages have been changed to highlight the challenges, particularly for those arriving with partners or families. The University has changed pre-arrival processes to offer more advice and support to those arriving with families. International students sometimes do not have housing secured on arrival, so the University has created a support grant of up to £500 to be used for hotel use, temporary accommodation and travel. The University also partnered with Corporate Properties and BSA properties to secure some short term or emergency accommodation for those families having issues and requiring emergency accommodation.


The University has approached landlords and asked them to join the SNUG scheme, and to provide family accommodation, but most have been reluctant to do so. The University is hosting a landlord forum for private landlords in January 2023. This forum looks at best practice, gives landlords a voice and looks at how they work with the two universities. The University will use this meeting to investigate the role of SNUG and the need for family accommodation and gain valuable feedback. We have been working with South Yorkshire Housing Association, Sheffield Council and Crucible lettings to secure more suitable property for students with families. The first of these properties, Dun Works, was made available in November 2022, and more developments are being looked at in future. In 2021 the University met with the accommodation provider Student Roost to explore the adaptation of a student accommodation with cluster flats being transferred into a family held/run accommodation. The idea was to change the use from student to mixed and convert up to fifty family flats. This is a medium-term solution to the problem but one the University has committed to explore.


International students with families often experience difficulties during the contracting phrase with:-
  • Inability to pay deposits or rents upfront. The University is working with agents, landlords and in partnership with Virgin Money to identify ways round this barrier. Some of the ways to navigate these barriers have been passed through to the international experience team already.
  • Issues with guarantors. Students from overseas find securing a guarantor difficult. This means they can’t get to contract stage or instead end paying large fees up front including annual rent payments to make up for it. The University is exploring the feasibility of the university underwriting and also considering a potential partnership with Housing Hand to include group discounts, subsidies, or wider university support to make this more affordable.
  • Confusion during the contracting process. This year, significant numbers of international students got to the point of signing the contract but then didn’t go ahead because they were unsure about the contract. The University has changed its messaging online and will explore how to signpost effectively to the advice centre.
  • Referencing/proof of funds. Many students have reported that landlords are requiring them to prove that they have enrolled, show bank statements or salary slips to prove they can make payments. The University has recently sent a questionnaire to some Sheffield based landlords to understand what they require and what they may accept, so that it can update the international team.


The University is reviewing its list of recommended letting and estate agents that it works with and signposts students to. The University wants to increase this list but also ensure that the agents that are advertised as partners recognise the challenges this group poses and makes exceptions accordingly. The University is also planning to work with the Student Voice network to gather feedback on agents and landlords - they will create a blacklist of poor performing landlords and remove agents from their lists if necessary.



15. The Students’ Union to review the lack of participation in societies, clubs, and sport amongst UK-domiciled BAME students.


We are planning a student-led review through our new BAME Ambassador Scheme. The BAME Ambassadors will meet with staff who support societies and clubs within the SU, conducting a research project which includes recommendations. Our Marketing and Engagement Ambassador will promote the project out to students to help them understand the steps we are taking to address this issue.

Our collective student voice

16. The Students’ Union and the University communicate and promote the Department Rep roles, including their remit and their positionality in the representation system, with academic staff of all levels.


We have sent emails to all students with an introduction from their respective Department Rep and enhanced the Find My Rep website function, which allows students to find out who their Course Rep, Department Rep, and College Officer are. We have created a number of ‘Who’s My Department Rep?’ pull-up banners which have been placed around campus, which include a QR code that students can scan to find out their Department Rep. We have also started a Students’ Union ‘roadshow’ around Academic Departments, attending Departmental staff meetings to outline the Department Rep role, responsibilities, and how the Reps can benefit the Department.


17. The University to work with the Students’ Union to promote the Union’s services and offers to ensure all staff and students are aware of how and why getting involved with the Students’ Union is important.


We are working with the University, through the SHU/SU Collaboration group, to identify opportunities for greater collaboration, and developing a process to gather and store information about all extracurricular activities together. We are thinking about how to effectively promote these opportunities to students.

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