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You said, we did

Ten things we have learned from your feedback

Including the National Student Survey (NSS), the Warwick Student Survey, module surveys, the SSLC, your meetings with DSEP, focus groups, Head of Department lunches and individual conversations. Please do continue to provide feedback.

You said

We did

You said detailed feedback, including verbal feedback, helps you make progress academically.

  • We have included the names of markers on all feedback sheets. This allows you to obtain additional verbal feedback, helping to clarify anything you do not understand.
  • We have promoted feedback as something received when writing an essay or revising for an exam (for example, talking through a plan for an essay or exam answer in an advice and feedback hour).
  • Our formative feedback sheets are designed to provide comprehensive feedback, indicating areas for improvement and providing comments on seminar performance.

You said exam feedback is important to you (in line with the Students’ Union Campaign for Departments to provide exam feedback).

  • The SU Faculty Rep’s Student Barometer Survey revealed PAIS to be the only Social Sciences Department to provide automatic individual written exam feedback.
  • We go further than just written comments: we give students an opportunity to talk through their exam feedback with the marker.
  • Our feedback sheets for exams are designed to give feedback on each individual exam answer, as well as an overall assessment.
  • We pioneered the use of Tabula and are now using it throughout our programmes to publish feedback electronically.

You asked for the purpose of ‘office hours’ to be clearer and to indicate the kinds of support you can receive from academic staff.

  • We re-named office hours ‘advice and feedback hours’, thereby indicating the seriousness PAIS attaches to feedback and the variety of forms feedback to you can take.

You said you would like even clearer marking criteria.

  • We have developed revised and more detailed marking descriptors as outlined in the PAIS Undergraduate handbook. This allows you to understand the marking criteria before you tackle assignments and have been updated to reflect the new 20 point marking scale.

You said you would like us to focus more on ‘personal development’ and 'employability' and the ways in which a PAIS degree allows you to apply what you have learnt and work with other students

  • We introduced an academic and personal devlopment form to allow for critical reflection about your skills. This also helps ensure personal tutor meetings are made more productive and assists tutors with writing well-informed references.
  • We appointed 13 undergraduate research assistants, following a competitive application process amongst our students. The successful applicants are paid over £10 per hour and work alongside our academics on research projects and enhancing teaching and the student experience.
  • We expanded our student ambassador and study abroad opportunities. PAIS has a growing portfolio of overseas exchange partners around the world, and you can study with them for a semester, an integrated year that counts towards your degree, or an intercalated year that adds time to your degree, depending on which partner you wish to study with.
  • We held an Undergraduate Dissertation Conference, modelled on our highly successful M.A. dissertation conference.
  • We introduced a scheme whereby undergraduates can apply for funding support from PAIS to participate in conferences, events and activities.
  • Each category of our revised marking criteria corresponds to a key set of transferable academic skills that students will continue to develop during their studies in PAIS.
  • We run annual PAIS Sector Event and PAIS Alumni events with Student Careers and Skills (SCS). We also run a number of career workshops each year, invite other individual speakers, and our Senior Careers Consultant runs both a weekly Drop-In and is available for booked appointments with PAIS students.

High quality academic support was important to you, particularly when making study choices.

  • PAIS offers three levels of academic support for our students - module tutors, personal tutors led by our Senior Tutor, and DSEP - not forgetting the wider support available throughout the University.
  • We have introduced an additional personal tutor meeting in term 3 for all undergraduates (with a focus on future module choices and support for exams).
  • We have introduced a more flexible time frame for students to see their personal tutor (i.e. weeks 1-5 as opposed to a personal tutor week). We have also worked hard to reduce personal tutor ratios so they can offer more personalised support.
  • We have led the way by taking part in the broader University pilot of Tabula to enhance our personal tutor provision.
  • We have run very well-received academic support sessions on essay writing and exam technique for all our 2nd and 3rd year students.
  • We have run an MA information session and a dissertation information session to support decisions on study choices.
  • Our additional support on study choices is in the context of the abolition of the 50 per cent rule which provides more choice and flexibility for students.
  • We have introduced a Departmental Disability Learning Support Contribution for international and EU students who do not qualify for the goverment's Disability Student Allowance (DSA).
  • We developed a clearer who to contact guide and a student email policy. Taken together these better enable students to contact academic and administrative colleagues and receive tailored support.

You would like additional library resources to help you in your studies.

  • Each year we look at our module evaluation results and direct library resources to where your feedback tells us they would be valued the most.
  • We have increased the amount we give to the Library from our own funds (to supplement the University’s contribution – which has also significantly increased). We have added another £5000 to our previous contribution of £35.000 to give £40,000 this year. This is the sixth successive year that PAIS has increased our contribution. The total Library fund for PAIS books is over £100K and the highest in the University!

You would like the highest quality online resources.

  • We re-designed all our module websites.
  • We continue to develop our PAIS Undergraduate Portal.
  • The entire PAIS website has been reconfigured and rebranded.
  • We are moving across our module websites to Moodle, on a year by year basis, in consultation with our SSLC. We are introducing Talis Aspire reading list software across all our modules.
  • We have appointed a new Academic Technologist. This role is targeted to further enhance resources on Moodle.

You would like the student voice to be heard ‘loud and clear’ in PAIS.

  • We led the way in running online elections for your SSLC – gaining a turnout rate which was praised by the SU as being even higher than for Sabbatical elections.
  • We provided an online form for students to submit their feedback directly to SSLC reps.
  • We have run focus groups and Head of Department discussion lunches so our finalist students could provide their input on developing PAIS, based on their experience of 3 or 4 years with us. Our new HOD has introduced termly 'Drop In's' for students to give him their feedback direct.
  • We invite students to presentations given by Teaching Fellow applicants so that they can help decide on the teachers of the future (and in the process gain experience of the kind of presentations they may need to give when applying for jobs).
  • We have expanded student representation on key departmental committees - our Education Committee, Widening Partication Committee, Equality and Diversity Committee. We invite SSLC reps to departmental staff meetings (Department Board). Course Reps activily contributed to our Instutitonal and Teaching Learning Review (ITLR) submission and the ITLR process in the University more widely.
  • We have set up an SSLC forum bringing together Course Reps from single honours and joint degrees to discuss shared concerns and facilitate improvements.

You would like PAIS to provide an even more friendly and sociable environment community of students and staff

  • We introduced a FREE hot drinks machine in the student common room, serving coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
  • We now have one of the biggest common rooms on campus - also with a kettle and microwave. We have recently installed a printer, more table and chairs, and additional plug/mobile phone sockets.
  • We hold regular drinks for students in the Dirty Duck and wine and cheese receptions for finalists
  • We hold a big social event in the Copper Rooms each March for all our students. This has featured a pub quiz, a performance by our PAIS Department band, The Plagiarists, and academics DJ'ing .There has been free food and drink. Watch this space for the event at the end of term 2!