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6: Your feedback and concerns

Your feedback to us

The Department places great value on your feedback and we have a number of mechanisms in place to ensure we receive and act on feedback on all aspects of your experience within the Department and the University in general.

You can provide feedback to us through a number of mechanisms such as:

  • Module Evaluation
  • Your Personal Tutor or Senior Tutor
  • the Graduate Student-Staff Liaison Committee (GSSLC) for MRes/PhD Students
  • the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) in the Summer Term and the Postgraduate Experience Survey (PRES) for PhD students (every two years)
  • Departmental online feedback form
  • Participation in focus groups, which take place annually.

The Head of Department, Professor Jeremy Smith, is also happy to hear thoughts from students regarding all operations within the Department. You may reach him via email: jeremy.smith@warwick.ac.uk or via his PA Gill Gudger: G.E.Gudger@warwick.ac.uk.

We strive to offer every student the best possible experience and it is your feedback that will enable us to continually improve. The University actively encourages feedback on all aspects of the student experience.

Module evaluation

In the Autumn and Spring Terms you will be asked to fill in an online evaluation questionnaire for each Economics module that you take. This gives you the opportunity to express your views on various aspects of the module and all responses are anonymous.

Why is feedback collected

We seek to improve our teaching provision and your learning experience on a continuous basis. We need to identify problems in order to mitigate or eliminate them. We need to know what you find helpful so we can disseminate best practices in teaching and learning throughout the department. Your responses are an essential input to these processes. If you treat it seriously and responsibly, so can we. The information collected through module evaluation is reviewed by senior management in the Department and used in staff performance reviews. As a Department we also look at your suggestions for improvement across modules and consider changes based on these.

What is useful feedback

You receive feedback whenever your coursework is marked and returned to you with the markers comments. Thinking about what you like and dislike as feedback on your coursework, will help you recognise what is useful feedback for your module teachers and departmental management.

Be honest

The process of teaching and learning require participation by two people- the teacher and you. The benefit to you from taking a module will depend on your own input. This is not just your physical presence at lectures and classes and the numbers of assessments you have submitted. Amongst other things it is also your preparation and background reading, your participation in discussions and joint work and so on. If you feel you did not get much out of a module, ask yourself honestly how much you put in. Learning new things is rarely achieved without effort and discomfort and is normally accompanied by temporary confusion. If you experienced boredom or a failure of motivation, consider how you should apportion responsibility between your teachers and yourself.

Try to separate content from personality

During your time at Warwick you may be taught by dozens of members of staff. It would be surprising if you liked them all equally as people or if some, at least, didn't have habits that irritate you. Try to distinguish between your reactions to their personality and to their teaching. It is possible for you to dislike someone but still derive benefit from their teaching (and the other way around of course).

Be considerate

Whilst we value your honest opinions, we would like you to think carefully about putting forward your views in a constructive and non offensive way. Personal, insulting and derogatory comments about teaching staff are not acceptable. You may like to view the University's Dignity Policy, as a reminder of the need for both staff and students to be respectful towards each other at all times.

Be conscientious

Please complete the online evaluation forms in week 10 and 24, respectively. If only a small proportion of forms are returned, our perceptions of students' views

what happens to your feedback:

1. Students complete the anonymous module evaluation form online (the IT team can identify who has completed module evaluation for the purposes of contact points but not who has written what).

2. Your anonymous feedback is received by the Module Leader, Director of PGT and Head of Department.

3. The Module Leader writes a report on the module, reviewing student feedback and a response is shared with the students via the module web page and GSSLC.

4. The Course Director writes annual course review report, taking into account module reports.

5. Annual module/course reports are reviewed by the Graduate Management Committee. This identifies concerns, suggests actions to overcome problems and monitors trends from year to year.

6. The GSSLC receives feedback on the outcome of the module and course reports.

The feedback you provide is an essential input to our quality management process. It will help to improve the teaching and learning environment for yourselves and future students.

Focus Groups

In the summer term of each year, we hold focus groups with MRes/PhD students to gather further feedback on aspects of the course and the department and to identify any issues which may not have been raised or dealt with during the year. These sessions are led by the Director MRes/PhD or by the Department's Marketing & Communications Team. Participation in the focus groups is usually rewarded with vouchers for food outlets on campus.

Student Surveys: PTES and PRES

In years 1 and 2 of the MRes we will ask you to take part in the PTES survey (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey). This is a national survey, which all UK universities take part in and the results feed into various national league tables. The survey provides another opportunity for you to provide feedback and we would encourage all students to take part. You can find out how we acted upon feedback provided through PTES in previous years here.

Last year the Department made a charitable donation (for each response received) to a charity voted for by the student cohort. There was also a prize draw for all MSc and MRes students, triggered once the response rate reached the target level. For more information about this survey please visit the Department's PTES webpage.

The PRES (Postgraduate Research Experience Survey takes place every other year. Your participation in this survey is greatly valued and will contribute to the continuous enhancement of postgraduate research degree provision at Warwick. For more information about this survey please visit the University's PRES webpage. The next PRES will take place in 2021.

For both the PTES and the PRES the Department develops an action plan based on students' responses, which informs the development of policy and procedures in the postgraduate area.

How to raise concerns

There may be occasions during your time in the Department when things may not work out quite as you would wish or something may go wrong. We are very receptive to resolving any issues you may experience. The difference between providing the Department with feedback and making a complaint is sometimes misunderstood. We define a complaint as "an expression of significant or sustained dissatisfaction where a student seeks action to resolve the problem." 

A complaint may relate to:

  1. The quality and standard of service we provide, including teaching and learning provision.
  2. The failure to provide a service.
  3. Unsuitable facilities or learning resources.
  4. Inappropriate behaviour by a staff member, student or individual associated with the University.
  5. Failure of the University to follow an appropriate administrative or academic process.

Under the University's procedure, a complaint is not classed as:

  1. A routine, first-time request for a service.
  2. A matter purely relating to academic judgement.
  3. An academic appeal against a decision made by an exam board.
  4. A request under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act, Subject Access Requests.
  5. A request for information on University policy or practice.
  6. A response to an invitation to provide feedback.
  7. An insurance claim.
  8. An attempt to have a complaint reconsidered when the University has already given its final decision.
  9. An accusation of research misconduct.
  10. A challenge to an admissions decision.
  11. A complaint about the Students' Union.
  12. A complaint about matters which have already or are under consideration by the Office or the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), a court or tribunal.

The University has a three-stage complaints resolution procedure. The information below outlines in brief how to make a complaint, but you are asked to consult the Student Complaints Resolution Procedure for more comprehensive information.

Informal channels (Stage 1)

The first stage of the complaints procedure is the stage where straightforward concerns should be resolved swiftly and effectively at a point at which a complaint is made. You are asked, unless the complaint is of a very complex or serious nature, to start the process at Stage 1. All Stage 1 complaints are investigated and responded to within 20 University working days.

You may wish to contact the member of staff in the Department whose actions have caused the issue to occur. You may also want to talk to your Personal Tutor or Year Tutor for advice. If you believe the issue is of a general nature relating to the teaching and learning provision in the Department, you may alternatively contact your SSLC representative, who can raise the matter on your behalf. Should you feel unable to raise your issue with the member of staff directly concerned, you should email economics.quality@warwick.ac.uk.

Complaints submitted anonymously are difficult to investigate and resolve, and as such, we do not encourage them. Such complaints will only be taken forward if sufficient information is provided to enable investigation. However, informal feedback about a service we provide may be submitted anonymously.

Occasionally there are disputes of a personal nature. These are rare, but cannot be ruled out in a large organisation like a university. Personal difficulties may arise if you believe that another student or a member of staff is discriminating against your or harassing you on the grounds of personal dislike or broader prejudice. In such circumstances you may take the matter up with your Personal Tutor, who will help you refer the issue to the appropriate authority. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, you may contact the Students' Union Education Officer or the Student Advice Centre for support.

In the event of a personal dispute involving your Personal Tutor, we recommend that you contact the Senior Tutor (who will assign you a new Personal Tutor at your request and without requiring you to give reasons if you do not wish to do so).

Formal channels (Stage 2)

In cases where you have raised an issue in Stage 1 of the complaints process with a member of the Department and have not received a response with which you are satisfied, or in cases which are significantly serious or complex to be dealt with informally, you should then put your complaint in writing (within 10 University working days of receiving the Stage 1 response) to the Head of Administration (Teaching and Learning) by emailing k.e.taylor@warwick.ac.uk. You will then receive an initial response to inform you that your complaint has been received, and your complaint will be investigated. You can expect to receive a response from the Head of Department or their Deputy within 30 University working days.

If, having received the response from the Head of Department or their Deputy, you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of consideration of your complaint, then, if you meet the published criteria, you can apply for a review of the Stage 2 process to include previously unavailable evidence or determine that appropriate processes were followed and that the Stage 2 decision was reasonable. For further details, please see the Student Complaints Resolution Procedure.

Formal channels (Stage 3)

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your Stage 2 complaint, you may escalate it to Stage 3 of the complaints procedure. This stage is the Formal Institutional Review and Final Resolution, which is where you may appeal to a higher body within the University for a review of the process to ensure that appropriate procedures were followed and that the decision was reasonable. This stage of the complaints resolution procedure is concluded within 30 days.

All students should feel free to contact any member of staff with issues.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)

If your complaint reaches the point where it has exhausted the three stages of the Student Complaints Resolution Procedure, you have the right to refer your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). The OIA must receive the complaint within three months of the conclusion of the complaints procedure at the University, and complainants are subject to eligibility criteria.