University welcomes high ranking for its student experience.

Posted on 21st March 2016

The University of Chester is ranked among the best in the country for its student experience, according to the Times Higher Education (THE,) the UK’s sector-leading publication.

In the THE’s Student Experience Survey 2016, the University is the country’s fifth most improved university for student experience, moving up to an overall ranking of 29th out of 117 institutions who participated (from 62nd last year.) With an impressive score of 80%, it is one of only two North West universities to feature in the top 30. It is also in the top two Cathedrals Group universities*.

Across the UK, more than 15,000 full-time undergraduates were asked how strongly they evaluated their university over 21 different attributes, which were suggested by the students themselves, including ‘high quality staff/lectures’, ‘good environment on campus/ around university’ and ‘good support and welfare’.

The students surveyed ranked the University of Chester particularly highly for its good campus environment; the support from helpful and interested staff, the good relationships with teaching staff; and its libraries and library opening hours. Student welfare support, and good security also achieved high marks, as did the question ‘Would you recommend the University to a friend?’

Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, said: “Students are the focus of all our activities. The University responds to feedback from comments from the National Student Survey, as well as other assessments, continually investing many millions of pounds in the teaching staff, research and facilities to give our students the experience that they deserve.

“We are delighted with our placing in the THE’s Student Experience Survey. This is a comprehensive independent study, covering a wide range of provisions and asking for honest opinions from our students, so this result is particularly pleasing. While we will always strive to improve our position, by constantly looking at ways to enhance the quality of our students’ experience still further, we are all justifiably proud of this result.”

Recent University investments in facilities include:

  • A programme of works currently underway at the University’s Seaborne Library, which is part of the institution’s £4 million modernisation of learning resource facilities this academic year. A new Learning Resources Centre also opened this spring at the University’s Kingsway Campus.
  • In the current academic year, it invested £10 million in a new campus at Queen’s Park for the Faculty of Business and Management and the Chester Business School. Churchill House and Bridge House have been totally refurbished.
  • In the last academic year, the University opened two halls of residence: a new £9.5 million pound purpose-built student accommodation block, providing 202 ensuite self catering studios at the very heart of the University’s Parkgate Road Campus; and the newly-refurbished Sumner House, formerly the Travelodge, on the Fountains roundabout.

In the last four years, the institution has been twice shortlisted for the Most Improved Student Experience in the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards – a category voted for by students themselves. It won in 2012 and was once more nominated in the same category last year.

The University takes pride in its Student Engagement Strategy 2015-2018, which allows all students the opportunity and support to shape their own academic learning experience in partnership with the institution. Working in partnership with Chester Student’s Union (CSU), it provides a number of opportunities for them to engage, which include as student academics representatives (StARs) and they are also involved in designing the curriculum with staff.

The recognition of Chester’s good campus environment and the institution’s security was further underlined back in September, when The Complete University Guide revealed the University of Chester to be the safest city-based institution and the second safest place to study overall in the region.

The Rev Dr Lesley Cooke, Dean of Students, said: “To receive this endorsement from our own students is the ultimate accolade, and recognises the tremendous efforts of our staff to support our students and to offer them the best possible experience here.”

Jonathan Harper, President of Chester Students’ Union added: “I am over the moon that the students have rated the quality of their student experience with the University and Students’ Union so highly. Alongside the University’s excellent achievements, we are particularly delighted to see that the Union’s position has raised to 12th in the country. We will continue to work tirelessly to enhance the student experience for every student.”