Dear RVC student body,
We are writing to you today with the results of our recent RVCSU Student Experience survey. Attached is the full report and below is a summary including our next steps:
Why did we do this?
The pandemic has affected everyone’s life in different ways and to different extremes. Whilst it is inevitable that many frustrations are born out of a desire for things to return to normal (and the fact that this is impossible at present), we recognise that there are many legitimate frustrations which we are glad to have objectified through this survey.
What did we discover?
Approximately a third of the student body completed the survey. The summary of the findings (relating to this academic year) are as follows:
- A third of students have approached the College or SU for support, mostly through the Advice Centre (63%), and also their personal tutor (57%).
- Importantly, around 50% felt they had inadequate support. Postgraduates were the most (75%) satisfied with their support, undergraduate biosciences students were the least satisfied (43%).
- For nursing, postgraduate taught and research, and undergraduate students, around 30-50% of students felt confident they were meeting their learning objectives.
- Many students were dissatisfied with communication from the College
- Around 60% of students have faced increased financial pressure over the last academic year.
- Many students felt online exams have caused them additional stress, with only 9-15% feeling less or no additional stress.
- Depending on course, between 60-75% experienced problems with the proctoring of exams. 27% of those encountering problems with their exam did not have their issue(s) resolved before the end of the exam.
- Importantly, 7% of students reported not receiving, or having difficulty receiving their required exam accommodations.
Respondents were also invited to leave comments. More than a third of students brought up mental health, highlighting the importance of mental health support for students during the current crisis. The majority of negative comments were related to Proctorio (exam proctoring software), but communication and tuition fees were also topics that featured highly.
We have already met with senior staff members of the college to present and discuss the survey results. We expect some changes to be made immediately, but issues that we are pursuing with renewed focus include:
- We believe special exam arrangements for online exams are currently discriminating against some students. These should be reviewed and improved so that no student is unfairly disadvantaged when taking online exams.
- Communication between the College and students should be improved, particularly regarding online exam arrangements and support.
- We are also encouraging RVC to seek alternatives to Proctorio given the high numbers of problems encountered with its use.
- Pastoral care and wellbeing services should be reviewed to ensure that students receive adequate and timely support.
- This should also extend to financial support, and the SU is calling for a freeze on tuition fees.
If you have been affected by any of the topics discussed in this survey, please don’t stay silent. We have provided a non-exhaustive list of contacts below – please do utilise them.
Thank you all for taking part in this survey. By sharing your experiences, you not only guide our positions as an SU, but also support us in taking these positions to the College. We have read every single comment left for us, and it has made clear the range and depth of the impact of the pandemic on our student body.
Quentin Wedmore (He/Him/His)
The Royal Veterinary College Students' Union
CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT