Our Top Ten this year is a broad and ambitious list but one that we feel very much reflects the needs of the student body at Bath. Should you have any questions, feedback or advice on how we might move forward with any of these issues, please contact us at suofficers@bath.ac.uk

This year we will work with the University on the following issues:

Improve the quality and quantity of study spaces

Space has been a hot topic with students for a number of years and was again highlighted as an area of improvement within the most recent iteration of the NSS. With the rise of student numbers and the capacity of the Library being at maximum during peak times such as exams, students are wanting more accessible learning commons that meet their needs and expectations. 

Key wins

  • Refurbishment planned of level 1 of the Library, opening up more study space for students
  • Fountain canteen opened for longer during exam season increasing seats available by over 200
  • Commisioning of a study space working group to constantly strive to improve the quality and quantity of study spaces

Reassess the requirement for students to submit hard copies for printed coursework and dissertations

With students now being the main contributor to university finances they are looking to get the most value out of their money. Students have raised issues with the cost of printing mandatory coursework and dissertations on top of the fees they already pay. Some courses in particular have a high printing requirement that the students have to pay for and the perception on “double submission” exacerbates the perception of cost and “waste” of money. Alongside this, student have raised environmental concerns of excessive printing and the added stress of ensuring that physical copies are printed, bound and submitted on time.

Key wins

  • Reduction of printing costs across campus
  • Research into the prevelance of mandatory printing that will inform a paper to go to the University during the summer. 

Ensure the quality of supervision is consistently high for all doctoral students

Supervision is key to the research, experience and satisfaction of our doctoral students. Through a variety of feedback mechanisms, such as PRES, PG student experience research, PG forums and through our Postgraduate Academic Reps, doctoral students have raised concerns around the quality and consistency of supervision across the University.

  • Establishment of a supervision task and finish group with key partners in the University and Doctoral College. 

Embed sustainability within the formal curriculum and wider university environmental practices

Students are increasingly becoming concerned with the environmental impacts of their activities but also from the practices of the University. When students graduate they want to be ethically concerned citizens alongside their academic achievements. Research conducted by NUS has found that over 80% of students believe that Sustainable Development should be incorporated and promoted by universities and over two thirds of students believe that Sustainable Development should be taught in their university courses.

  • Creation of a year long staff member to look at embedding sustainability within the curriculum
  • University to divest from fossil fuels
  • Removal of all non-biodegradable straws on campus
  • Ran bigger and better 'Be Green' weeks creating a environmental buzz on campus

Secure commitment to a location and timeframe of building full sized 3G sports facilities on campus

Having been on a previous Top Ten (2013/14) students are again calling out for a 3G pitch. With the reputation of the sporting activity being so high for the University of Bath, a lack of a 3G pitch is harming the developmental and training opportunities of our sports clubs and students.

Key wins

  • Approval to build a 3G training strip
  • 3G pitch creation to be put into the University master plan

Enhance the conditions, training, and development opportunities for postgraduates who teach

In PRES 2017, only 57% of GTA’s felt they had been adequately trained which placed us lowest in GW4 and near the bottom of the sector. Supporting out GTA’s is imperative so those postgraduates feel valued by the University. The ability of our GTA’s to effectively carry out their role has an impact on the students they teach as well.

Key wins

  • Creation of a postgraduates who teach working group
  • Greater information created on PGWT's on the Doctoral College website
  • Specific careers events and sessions for PGWT's on 'articulating the value of teaching'
  • The design of an enhanced training programme
  • The introduction of a PGWT award at the Education Awards recognising the hard work of PGWT's

Provide focused mental health support across the student community

There has been a 20% year on year increase in the amount of students accessing the counselling and wellbeing service within the University. Through previous research, we also know there are significant steps to be taken to ensure that we are actively supporting the improvement of the mental health of our students, especially postgraduates and International students.

Key Wins

  • Increase in investment and resources in Student Services
  • The creation of a new mental health strategy
  • The recruitment of an external auditor to identify key areas of improvement in mentla health services on campus
  • Expansion of the 'Stress Free Campus' campaign during exam time as well as other campaigns and events on campus such as 'Be Well Week' and 'Big Death Talk' to tackle the taboo of bereavment

Improve space provision for students in the Edge

With students actively looking to enhance their development and social aspects of university life alongside their academic careers, the opportunities for students to get involved with recreational activities is of high importance. Societies provide an excellent avenue to students to involve themselves in the arts and much more, and looking at how space in the Edge is used is a high priority for these students, especially when students are not prioritised over commercial bookings and conferences.

Key Wins

  • Strengthening relations with the Edge staff, with fortnightly meetings to resolve issues and to identify improvements in provision and service
  • Edge space booking done annual based on student feedback
  • Students given priority on bookins allowing for more performance opportunities, workshops and rehearsals. 

Ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the university infrastructure

The University remains a very inaccessible institution for our disabled students. With the physical campus remaining inaccessible in parts, some students have difficulty in utilising space as opposed to the wider student body. Student have also highlighted other aspects of the university, such as the website, as being inaccessible for students with disabilities.

Key Wins

  • Establishment of a disability change working group looking to create policies to improve disabled access within university and to recommend changes
  • Ongoing work with HR to improve training given to staff on disability awareness 
  • Securing funds to imprve accessibility to Virgil Building
  • New builds, Management Building and Polden Corner, had extra user group consultation with a specific focus on disability

Review current processes to ensure students have an effective understanding of plagiarism

The Academic Integrity test is “Past its sell-by-date” and students are running afoul of plagiarism rules due to a coherent lack of understanding or training. In addition certain student demographics, such as postgraduate and international students, have a particular high number of incidences.

Key Wins

  • A trial of a new academic integrity test was undertaken with some areas beeing looked at to adopt across the entire student body

Your feedback, through the Student Opinion Survey (SOS), Academic Council and Ideas to Action helps us identify ten key issues affecting students at the University.

We are now into the 8th year of the SU Bath Top Ten and following on from key wins last year such as securing a physical expansion of the gym, establishment of the Waste Reduction Task and Finish group, reviewing the personal tutor system and collaborative working with the CLT to look at assessment and feedback, we are looking to work again with the University to enhance the student experience here in Bath. Over the summer we've worked to establish our Top Ten list for this year, based on a whole host of student feedback and consulting staff members across the University. It's clear that as the years go on, the expectations of students are increasing and all stakeholders need to be continually working hard to provide an excellent student experience.

Top Ten Background