On Thursday 4th April, the Union of Students, specifically the Buxton Part Time Officers, hosted a Student Forum event at Buxton campus. The forum was led by Susannah Springall (Buxton Chair), Clayton Hartley (Buxton Events Officer), Sophia Lemord (Buxton Education Officer) and Lorna Bennett (Buxton Activities Officer). It invited students to share their feedback about their wider university experience to staff from various University and Union departments. We asked students to give their views on a range of topics from academic issues to the student support services at Buxton campus.
Below is an overview of the feedback students shared with us at the forum:
Placement and Induction: Students raised that they need more clarity and communication around the process of placements and how to apply for one. Staff mentioned that the majority of placement information is communicated to students during induction week; however, students stated that induction week can seem overwhelming due to the large amounts of important detail that is provided. Students raised that induction might not be the best time to discuss placements as it is not a student’s main priority at the start of their first year. Staff responded that they will look into filtering this information throughout the year rather than communicating it all during induction week. Buxton Part Time Officers will also meet with Victoria Rosemond, Lecturer in Tourism and Spa, to discuss further how this could be implemented. Despite this, students also mentioned that a positive aspect of induction this year was how staff showed students around the town and explained ways they could get involved with the local community; students shared that celebrating the town and highlighting the best parts of Buxton was a valuable part of induction week.
Course Structure: there are plans at the moment to adapt programme structures so that students can engage with modules from other courses. Students mentioned they value the idea of being able to build their own degree to match their interests and enquired when this process will be implemented. Staff in attendance responded that it was still an ongoing process and they were continuing to look into the best way to redesign programmes so modules can cross over numerous courses.
Referrals: students raised concern that there is not enough information communicated about the process of referrals and what to do if you receive one. Union staff responded that any students wanting more information about referrals can make an appointment with a member of the Union advice service. This can be done via the following link https://www.derbyunion.co.uk/advice/onlinebooking/. If anyone would like more information about the advice service offered by the Union please go to https://www.derbyunion.co.uk/advice/ or stop by DO/G23. In addition, University staff mentioned that students can discuss the referral process with their Personal Tutor and that this information is communicated during Personal Tutoring week.
Dissertation examples in the library: students shared that the dissertation examples at Oaklands Manor are very useful and asked whether dissertation examples could be provided in the Dome library. Scarlet Moss, VP Education, responded that dissertation examples submitted from 2014 onwards are available through UDORA.
These examples are from 2014 and onwards.
Facilities on Campus
Library: students queried the progress of the ongoing library refurbishments. The Part Time Officers shared positive feedback in regards to the library staff and their commitment to the student voice; mentioning that the library staff consulted with them in regards to future changes to the library space and asked what students would like to see. The students have stated that most of their requests have been implemented very quickly; however, the students raised that a larger refurbishment of the library space was being planned and wondered when this would be happening. In regards to this, Tim Stubbs, Library Experience Manager, responded with the following:
“In terms of the longer redevelopment of the Library, we are in the process of submitting proposals…these are proposals that require approval before anything can be implemented…we are, however, in the process of purchasing more USB power points for the Library. These will be installed in the Silent Room and along the left hand side of the main room. Once this work is complete, we will have USB power throughout the Devonshire Library, making us the only one of the University’s libraries that can make that claim! We’re also looking at the possibility of purchasing additional study pods this year.”
More social spaces: students raised that they would like more social spaces, or places where students can work collaboratively outside of the library, around the Dome. They would like these spaces to be HE only and somewhere that is not located in the centre of the Dome. Even though students in attendance were aware of tHE Space, they raised that the décor and layout of the space does not feel welcoming. They shared that they would like a social space located inside the Dome rather than a separate building. Overall, students want to have a space that they can make their own. Staff present responded that this is something they can look into further and, with consultation from students, they can assess the best type of social space students want and where it could be located within the Dome.
Other feedback raised
- Students would like more detailed feedback on assessments, including explanations of how they can reach the next grade boundary
- Staff and students have been enjoying the Culinary Art Students pop-up stands; however, it was raised that more publicising would be useful for these stands.
- There was positive feedback from students regarding industry day
- Students shared that they are receiving significant amounts of emails about completing Futures Awards – Ben Offord, Engagement Officer for Buxton, Leek and Chesterfield, said he would look into this and assess why they were receiving so many.
- Students gave positive feedback about the Peer Assisted Learning Scheme the University has initiated as part of the Student Experience Framework. For more information on PAL please go to https://www.derby.ac.uk/services/centre-for-excellence-learning-teaching/peer-assisted-learning/