We’ve all reached the end of the semester with our assignments piling up as our computers struggle under the pressure of dozens of tabs of research, references and the occasional video of cute dogs getting a haircut.

Around this time, you’ll probably have noticed a few emails and notifications popping up about completing surveys.

It’s easy to miss these and opt instead to fill your break time watching the Pomeranian whose head outweighs its body. But completing these surveys is actually really important and can make a big impact to not only your University experience, but the experiences of all those who follow you.

You may not be aware, but these surveys play a huge role in letting the university hear and acknowledge your experiences and turn these into real, actionable results that have seen changes made across the university year on year.

Professor Jennifer Milam, who heads the University’s Academic Excellence Team confirms this, stating:

‘We value student feedback at the University and take survey results very seriourly. They tell us how well we’re performing and where we need to improve in the future’.

But what exactly does my feedback go towards? Why are there so many different types of surveys? Does anyone actually read what students have to say?

University of Newcastle Student Navigator is here today to give you the run-down on each survey given out by the university and answer all these questions. And remember – your response matters. If only 10% of students respond to a survey, it’s those 10% who contribute to shaping the experience for all students.

The university is working hard to respond to your feedback

Each and every response that you give during a survey is read by staff at the university. That’s right – there are real people on the end of every comment you share.

It’s also important to make sure that the feedback you give is clear and constructive, which is also a great way to hone some real-world job skills. The ability to give feedback is an important skill that you will carry with you throughout uni and into the workforce. Being able to convey your thoughts and feelings carefully is a life-long communication skill and is a benefit to any work position.

Your feedback shapes your courses and learning

The Course Experience Survey (CES) gathers feedback on your courses and academic staff.

The best and easiest thing about this survey? Only one compulsory question. That means that taking just one moment to say that you’re satisfied with your course experience can really help out your teachers and let them know they’re going a good job while supporting them in their career.

If you have constructive criticism, the survey gives you a change to voice what changes you would like to see by opening up more questions. Course Coordinators discus the feedback that you provide every term to improve the course, some course outlines even have a section titled ‘Responses to previous students feedback’. if this is missing from your course outline, why not ask your lecturers and teachers what changes have been made.

Making changes on university-wide services and facilities

The Student Feedback on the University of Newcastle (SFUN) is about giving feedback on your university experience outside of class – that’s everything from uni events to study spaces.

If you have something to say about your University experiences, here is where you get the chance to make your opinions heard. This feedback is taken onboard and when possible, implemented. For instance, all program plans have been revised for 2021 enrolment to create more clash-free timetables for students, as well as the creation of the enrolments tile inn myUON to create a seamless process for students.

You can view a comprehensive overview of the changes the university is making here.

Improving your overall university experience

The Student Experience Survey (SES) gathers feedback on your overall university experience. Used by the federal government to improve education across the country, the survey asks for feedback on both academic and non-academic elements of your university life.

The SES survey results are also assessed by University of Newcastle to find out what changes need to be made across the board. 

Professor Jennifer Milam shared how this feedback is implemented:

‘The SES survey provides us with a roadmap to providing the best quality experience for our students. We absolutely listen to the feedback given; we break it down into specific learnings for each course and School, and take note of general trends for the whole University. We have really high satisfaction levels at the University of Newcastle, but we want to be a sector leader in every subject area we offer.’

Student Survey Rewards

The cherry on top? A chance to win awesome prizes

As a reward for the time you spend filling out surveys, University of Newcastle has a huge prize pool on offer. Completing the SFUN can net you some awesome rewards, like Apple AirPods to make those shuttle bus commutes more relaxing, or you dread the walk from free parking areas, you could win a free yearly parking permit.

Some unique and one of a kind experiences are also on offer. If you ever wanted a tour of some off-limits areas like the anatomy lab or to get your foot in the door with one-on-one networking sessions with top academic talent, completing your surveys can net you one of these opportunities.

So go on, get out there and start having your say on your university experience. It’s one easy way to help change your university life for the better.

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