The University of East Anglia has been officially named the best place in the country to be a student by a survey published on 25 April. The annual Student Experience Survey is published by the Times Higher Education magazine and allows students to rate their university according to 21 different categories including accommodation, security and sports facilities.
UEA has consistently been one of the top 10 universities for student satisfaction but has now been ranked top in the country, up from sixth place last year. In a press release, the University’s newly-appointed Chancellor, Rose Tremain, said: “students need to feel cared for, socially, culturally and above all, intellectually…Throughout its fifty years of expansion the university has never lost sight of its paramount commitment to intellectual excellence, and I’m delighted – but not in the least surprised – that it has found the Number One spot in the Student Experience Survey.”
The Union of Students has used this opportunity to highlight their role in providing a good student experience and the difficult position they now find themselves in. In a post on the Union blog entitled ‘Our Student Experience is #1. But For How Long?’, the Union drew attention to the shortcomings of its current funding model and suggested that cuts would need to be made to ensure the survival of the Union. The post states: “we’ve already lost a lot of staff, saved money on utilities, generated more footfall in our shops and bars. We don’t have enough resource in communications or representation to cut back on. We will have to cut the things which we do to make your student experience so good.”
Some of the highest scoring categories for UEA were “good social life”, “good community atmosphere” and “good environment on campus/around university”, showing that students rate the student experience outside of the classroom incredibly highly, as well as services provided by the Union.
Whatever the future for the Union budget, UEA is revelling in its current success. UEA pro-vice-chancellor Prof Nigel Norris summed up by saying: “our commitment to providing a gold-plated student experience is long-standing and ingrained. It began long before the concept became central to universities up and down the land, and has been rewarded by a consistent top 10 ranking in the National Student Survey. This latest endorsement has been made possible only by the hard work and creativity of our academics, support staff and, of course, the students themselves who never cease to inspire us.”