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5: Your Feedback and Concerns

Your feedback to us

We place 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:

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 you the best possible experience and it is your feedback that will enable us to continually improve.

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. Feedback is most useful when it is provided in a considered and thoughtful way. The Autumn and Spring Term online module evaluation also form two of your Monitoring Points.

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 into these processes. If you treat it seriously and responsibly, so can we. The information collected from Module Evaluations 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 marker’s 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 for departmental management.

Be honest

The process of 'teaching and learning' requires participation by two people — the teacher and you. The benefit to you from taking a module will depend in part on your own input. This is not just your physical presence at lectures and module Support and Feedback classes and the number of essays you have submitted. Amongst other things, it is also your preparation and background reading, your participation in discussion 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 are irritating to 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 round, of course).

Be considerate

Lecturers have feelings too. Sometimes criticism is justified, but try to offer criticism in a sensitive way. Comments such as “X is the worst lecturer I’ve ever had” aren’t useful or constructive. Think what it would mean to you to be told: “This is the worst essay I’ve ever marked”. It would hurt your feelings. Then you might get angry and think: “That says more about you than me.”

Be conscientious

Please complete the online evaluation forms in weeks 10 and 24, respectively. If only a small proportion of forms are returned, our perceptions of students’ views may be biased as a result. Don’t lose your chance to be heard.

What happens to your feedback?

Our module evaluation form is online and includes space for written comments.

  • The written comments are retained by the module leader, though they are also read by the Head of the Department.
  • Each module leader writes a response to the main points raised in the module evaluation. These responses are shared with students via module webpages.
  • A summary of the responses to module evaluations is shared with the SSLC.
  • At the end of the year each module leader writes an annual module report, incorporating both qualitative and quantitative feedback results.
  • These reports are reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies (Taught Degrees), who summarises the main issues for the Department’s Graduate Management Committee. This identifies causes for concern, suggests action to overcome problems, and monitors trends from year to year. Reports may also be made available to outside agencies such as QAA subject review assessors.
  • Finally, sections of module reports will be made available to your Student-Staff Liaison Committee and will be uploaded to module web pages.

The feedback you provide is an essential input into our quality management process. It will help to improve the teaching and learning environment for yourselves and for future students. We ask you to take part in it thoughtfully and seriously.

Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey

The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) is conducted annually and is a survey of taught postgraduate students in all UK universities about their learning and teaching experience.

PTES allows us to get honest feedback from you on what we do well and what we could improve further to be able to maintain our reputation as one of the top economics departments globally. Survey results are important for prospective students considering economics at Warwick.

Find out about the feedback we have acted upon, from the PTES and other feedback, and how we have worked together to implement some real improvements to your teaching and learning experience.

What is a complaint?

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 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)

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 Quality Assurance Manager by emailing economics.quality@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.