The University of East Anglia has been placed joint sixth in The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2015, published by Times Higher.
The university shares the ranking with the University of Surrey. This is down three places from the 2014 results. In the 2013 results, UEA held the top spot largely due to “investing heavily in the number of staff”, which resulted in smaller class sizes.
The annual survey, which was taken by 14,697 students nationwide, polls students on 21 aspects of university life, covering a wide variety of issues. From the quality of library facilities, to access to academics, and even how positive the community atmosphere is. The questions are designed to look at issues which students really care about.
Compared to last year’s results, the scores in various categories haven’t changed dramatically, with only a 0.1 or 0.2 point difference in those categories that had changing scores. In fact, many scores stayed the same, including the coveted ‘Would you recommend your university to a friend?’ in which UEA scored 6.3, whilst the top ranked university, the University of Bath, scored 6.5. This suggests that it may not be the case that UEA has gotten worse, but more than other institutions have improved.
Third year International Relations student, Nicola Kitching said: “From speaking to people who completed the survey, many seemed to rate negatively by reflecting upon the Union rather than the University itself. I wonder if this has impacted upon the ratings”.
The number of students who took the survey from UEA has fallen to 157 this year, compared to 168 last year. However the results do show that there is more to the student experience than simply contact hours and study groups, by taking into consideration things such as sports facilities and extracurricular activities.
Despite the drop, UEA’s Vice-Chancellor David Richardson has remained positive about UEA’s position in the table: “I am thrilled that UEA has maintained its excellent track record in offering a top-class student experience. We are in esteemed company in the top ten and will strive to continue and improve on the efforts of the university to make UEA an exciting and fulfilling place to be. It’s testament to the well-rounded experience UEA and the Union of UEA Students offer in our thriving campus”.