Students should be equal partners if we want them to become the leaders of tomorrow.
(University of Leeds Strategy)
The student voice is embedded in all our evaluative processes across the University.
(University of Leeds Access and Student Support Strategy)
How can you listen and respond to student feedback?
In higher education contexts in the UK, listening and responding to student feedback is part of 'Student Voices' work. This work is about accepting and promoting the idea that students have an authentic and valuable voice to contribute to the discussions and debates about their learning and education, and can and should impact decisions in these areas in meaningful ways.
Engaging in Student Voices activities is an invaluable and fundamental part of student partnerships. Although in isolation it is not evidence of an authentic partnership, Student Voices can provide the foundations for true co-creation and co-design approaches to occur at a module, programme or school level.
Student Voices is also integral to strong cultures of student representation. In addition to student reps who work alongside staff members in governance groups, Student Voices work can help to ensure all voices have a platform and are listened to.
As a result, an integral part of Student Voices work involves listening to students: gathering feedback, analysing concerns, and responding appropriately and effectively. And it is important to create multiple spaces for feedback, where all students feel welcome to share their experiences. Because our students are not homogenous, a multi-faceted approach to Student Voices is needed. But it is important that any activity:
- has purpose and is actionable (and is acted upon institutionally and/or locally)
- is followed by closing the feedback loop with students i.e. they see and potentially feel the impact of sharing their voices and experiences with the University.
We know that students value being heard, and that the impact of student voices work can be widespread and highly effective. You can find out more about activity in that area across our institution in our Curriculum Redefined guide ‘How Might We: Engage with Student Voices’.
How might we respond to and act on Student Voices?
Collecting and responding to mid-module evaluation feedback
Students can be invited to provide feedback on their module experience at the midway point by means of a short survey. The opportunity to give informal feedback can have a significant and positive impact on the student experience as it means that this formative feedback that can result in useful adaptations to the second half of the module. This is a positive conversation that empowers student voices and has value. For more information about the mid-module evaluation process, you can consult the University of Leeds QA guidance.
Heads of Schools, Directors of Student Education, Programme Leaders, and Module Leaders are the colleagues who will be most involved in the mid-module evaluation process. If you are supporting colleagues in the mid-module evaluation process in one of these roles, you can find additional ideas for support and for responding to student feedback in this set of slides.