University maintains excellent teaching standards according to national assessment
By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Thursday, 20 June 2019
High quality teaching at the University of Sussex is allowing our students to go on to high-skilled employment and further study at exceptionally high rates, an independent panel of experts assessing the quality of our undergraduate student experience has announced.
The panel of students, academics and other experts concluded that the University has maintained its high standard of teaching over the past two years in retaining a silver award in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), first awarded in June 2017.
The TEF process, managed by the Office for Students, is designed to ensure all UK colleges and universities meet national quality standards with participating universities and colleges given a gold, silver, bronze, or provisional rating.
For the 2019 TEF, the judging panel reserved particular praise for the University’s achievements in:
• Outstanding outcomes for its students from all backgrounds with regard to progression to graduate level employment and further study.
• High-quality physical and digital resources that are used by students to enhance learning.
• The implementation of an institutional culture that facilitates, recognises and rewards excellent teaching.
• A range of opportunities for personalised learning that secures high levels of engagement and commitment to learning and study from student.
Kelly Coate, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, said: “Whilst we are really pleased with most of the feedback, which highlighted many areas of excellence, the assessors were clear that our poor scores for assessment and feedback in the NSS must change in order to move into a gold position. We are always looking to improve the student experience at Sussex and we know there is room for improvement in the way we do assessment and feedback.”
Among the progress the University has made in its offer to students, the panel learned the university has made significant digital advancements with the launch this academic year of Canvas, a new cloud-based Virtual Learning Environment, and our first online, distance learning courses. As part of the University’s promotion of emerging technology, GoBag Kits (containing cutting-edge Fusion GoPro cameras, iPad Pros and Google Cardboard) are also enabling students to create, share and benefit from truly immersive experiences.
New figures also show the number of Sussex students taking advantage of opportunities to study abroad rose to more than 300 in 2017/2018 while the number of students taking up a work placement rose by 68% from 2017/18 to 2018/19.
Judges were also told how feedback and research into student behaviours had inspired significant changes to their library experience by freeing up room for more study space, extending opening hours and adding a family room.
The panel was also told how the University’s student population was becoming increasingly diverse with the proportion of UK-based, non-White applicants rising above 25% for the first time in 2017 while the proportion of placed students with a Disabled Students’ Allowances increased from 10.2% to 12.4% between 2016 and 2017 and care leaver students have risen by 67% in five years. The University is recognised as one of the top five in the UK for students with autism by Study International and has also recently become a Stonewall Diversity Champion.