A fund from the National Subject Centre, C-SAP (Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics) gave five Warwick students from the Department of Sociology the opportunity to conduct research into the student experience of learning in a research-oriented department.
Esmee Hanna, Christos Charalambous, Pablo Gutierrez-Rey, Abia Shaheen and Kate Lawless placed the learning environment of their department under the microscope. Warwick’s Sociology department is known for its high research standards and came top of The Times Good University Guide 2004 Sociology subject table.
The results of the students’ research highlighted issues such as curriculum design and departmental culture. They also showed that students appreciate being treated like adults as it makes them feel part of the department and that they prefer learning through hands-on research. Of particular mention was the Sort’d Project run by Dr Mike Neary in which students are paired with young ex offenders on collaborative research projects.
The findings illustrated that students are keen to know about the research activities taking place in the department and welcome the chance to contribute to such research projects. After the students' presentation the discussion centred around the needs of students on the joint degree programme and student perceptions of the assessment expectations of lecturers.
Following the findings from the next stage of the research, staff will seek to make changes to their teaching in preparation for the next academic year. A final student evaluation will take place in the summer term of 2005.
Based at the University of Birmingham C-SAP funding is available to postgraduate students in UK universities and colleges delivering HE programmes in Sociology, Anthropology, Politics, Criminology, Urban Studies, Women's Studies and Race and Ethnic Studies. It is dedicated to learning and teaching initiatives by postgraduates and enables students to engage and respond to learning, teaching and training issues of concern to them.