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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.

The feedback you provide is an essential input into our quality management process. It will help to improve the teaching and learning environment for you and for future generations of students. We ask you to take part in it thoughtfully and seriously. The Autumn and Spring Term online module evaluation also form two of your Contact Points.

This is what happens to your feedback:

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

2. Feedback received by module leader, Director of PGT and Head of Department.

3. Module leader writes annual report on module, reviewing student feedback.

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

5. Annual module/course reports reviewed by Graduate Management Committee. Action taken where needed.

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

Graduate Student-Staff Liaison Committee

The GSSLC (Graduate Student-Staff Liaison Committee) is an important platform for you to have your say and provide feedback to us. Students get together with Departmental staff to discuss issues that concern the learning experience. Even in the best departments, there are always some issues that deserve to be addressed. Yet the GSSLC is more than a ‘complaint box’. The Committee has also been very useful in the past to simply ask questions that were unclear to many students. This makes the GSSLC a good opportunity for students and the Department to communicate.

Issues that have been raised in the past include access to material in the Library, questions concerning IT facilities as well as aspects of your learning experience and examination, even ranging to more long-term matters such as curriculum development. At the same time, the GSSLC is not intended to address special problems that concern only one individual student. Often these issues can be more efficiently resolved if the student speaks to the Postgraduate Office or to the module teacher concerned.

GSSLC items should only be the ones that concern a wider population of Economics postgraduates. Also, the GSSLC should generally not be a channel for evaluation of individual modules. This should be done via the module evaluation forms. However, if the representatives feel that there are some issues about individual modules that are not addressed via the module evaluation form they are free to raise these in the GSSLC meetings.

During the academic year, GSSLC representatives will meet with staff from the Department four times. That is not very often. So to all you future representatives: make sure you prepare for the meetings and have a list of issues that you want to bring to the Department! If you put just a little preparation time into it, it will be much easier to address them.

How GSSLC representatives are elected:

  1. All students are asked to submit a candidacy.
  2. Department hosts online voting.
  3. Elected representatives agree on Chair and Vice-Chair.

Some useful things to know if you become a GSSLC representative:

  • There will be six or so representatives from the different MSc courses, the Diploma and the MRes/PhD programme.
  • Out of these a Chairperson will be chosen, whose main task is to chair the GSSLC meetings.
  • The Vice-Chair/Secretary has to take minutes of the meetings and replaces the Chair in her/his absence. The minutes are circulated to all students so they know what’s going on.
  • The first thing to do for the representatives is to look at last year’s GSSLC annual report to get a feel for what has been discussed.
  • It is also useful to begin each meeting with an update on how the issues of the last meeting have been addressed since then.
  • Before each meeting, the MRes/PhD Office will ask you to prepare a list of items to be discussed. All the representatives, and the Chair/ Vice-Chair in particular, are responsible for collecting these issues and sending them in on time.
  • Ask your fellow students what they think about the courses.
  • Your job is to help the students and the Department to communicate. If you are willing to carefully listen to both, and if you like to communicate and to analyse problems, you will be able to make a great contribution indeed.

The Warwick Students' Union provide training and a handbook for all course representatives.

How to raise concerns

There may be occasions during your time in the Department when things go wrong. The information below explains how to make a complaint.

Informal channels (Stage 1)

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 for advice. If you believe the issue is of a general nature relating to the teaching and learning provision in your department, you may alternatively contact your GSSLC representative, who can raise the matter on your behalf.

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 you or harassing you on 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’s 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 Director of Academic and Pastoral Support (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)

Student Academic Complaints Procedure

A complaint should initially be made in writing to the person responsible for the action which has given rise to the complaint. Where this is not appropriate (e.g. where you do not feel comfortable contacting the person responsible directly or where there has been previous unproductive discussion/disagreement) or where such action has been taken and the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved, it should be raised with the Head of Department or their deputy.

If, having contacted the Head of Department or their deputy, you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of consideration of your complaint, the University has a Student Academic Complaints Procedure to deal with complaints about the teaching and learning process, provided that the complaint is received within three months of the occurrence about which the complaint is made.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)

Complaints that have exhausted the University’s internal procedures can, at the discretion of the individual submitting the complaint, be submitted to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. The OIA has the power to investigate complaints and make recommendations to the University where procedures need changing. The OIA can also recommend financial compensation be offered to the individual submitting the complaint.

Find out if your complaint qualifies under the OIA regulations.

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