Oxford University has received mixed results from the National Student Survey (NSS). Nationwide, Oxford came joint 20th with 15 other higher education institutions, with an overall student satisfaction rate of 90 per cent. Whilst the Oxford University Medical School received the highest satisfaction rating of all British medical schools, the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) took the bottom spot in the NSS tables for the fifth year in a row.The NSS is a series of 23 online questions relating to six areas of the learning experience as well as student unions and overall student satisfaction. It is aimed at final year undergraduates, and assesses universities and other higher education providers on a number of satisfaction-based criteria every year. The 2016 poll, which was released on 10th August, had a sample size in Oxford of 2919 finalists. Across the country the poll showed student satisfaction remained at record levels.Oxford University performed particularly well in satisfaction with the medical school, in which 99 per cent of medical students agreed that they were satisfied with their experience of the course, with 87 per cent claiming high satisfaction. Dr Tim Lancaster, Director of Clinical Studies, commented: ‘It is wonderful to receive this appreciation from our students for both our six and four year medical courses. The NSS consists of 22 questions and covers six domains in addition to overall satisfaction. Oxford achieved high scores across all domains. This reflects not only the excellence of teaching throughout the two courses, but the high quality of the administrative staff who provide such a high level of organisation and cohesion. Effective partnership with our NHS partners is another crucial part of this success. I would like to thank all the scientists, clinicians and administrators who contribute to our team.” He added, “It is particularly pleasing that Oxford is able to achieve high levels of both student satisfaction and graduate achievement.”On the other hand, only 34 per cent of Oxford students who responded to the National Student Survey (NSS) 2016 described themselves as ‘satisfied’ with their student union, whereas 37 per cent described themselves as neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Across Higher Education Institutions in the UK the average satisfaction level with studnet unions was 62.3 per cent; top of the table was Leeds University Union, which had a 92 per cent satisfaction rating. Student unions at two other collegiate universities, Durham and Cambridge, were also around the bottom spots, with satisfaction rates at 35 and 37 per cent respectively.OUSU VP Eden Bailey commented, “Most Students’ Unions, unlike OUSU, have physical facilities and resources encompassing bars, club nights, cafes alongside clubs and societies, and all manner of other things. We unfortunately don’t have this kind of space, visibility, or the funding to provide it. For most Oxford students, their College’s Common Room comes closer to the kind of status, facility, and familiarity that Students’ Unions at other universities have.A huge challenge we face is that not many people realise that a number of the great things that common rooms do offer are facilitated by OUSU, from discount contraceptives to developing papers and other resources to lobby Colleges on important issues. This year we’ll be providing common rooms with more support than ever before, with a huge new training programme which will offer free training not just for common room presidents, but for students who want to get involved in everything from looking after a society’s finances to being trained as a first respondent to sexual violence.A lot of our most crucial work for students is behind the scenes, and much of it confidential, for example negotiating with the University on issues to do with fees and funding, particularly in light of the government’s recent Higher Education Bill. A lot of what we achieve as student representatives on committees may not seem like particularly flashy or highly visible ‘wins’ but they make a huge difference to students’ access to and experience of education at Oxford. However, one thing we definitely want to work on this year is ensuring that all of our ‘wins’ are delivered and communicated through a variety of channels that reach an increasingly wide range of students.Additionally, some of OUSU’s best work is through the support offered to students who are most marginalized by the University and Colleges, and this is reflected in the NSS score – we have notably higher ratings of satisfaction from students who identify as BME than as white, and from women than men.So, in many ways, the NSS rating highlights that many students don’t know very well what OUSU does. So perhaps it’s not surprising we don’t get rated so highly. But in addition to expanding what we are already doing well, making this visible is something we are committed to improving.”Publications such as the Times Higher Education have begun to speculate that a ‘new elite’ of popular universities might emerge from university rankings based on student satisfaction. In this year’s NSS results of the 24 universities to score 90 or above, only six are from the Russell Group.
After a tense Friday that saw the campus and the Greater Boston area on lockdown, Harvard returned to life Saturday as students, residents, and visitors flooded back into the Square.Some Harvardians gained a sense of closure after Friday night’s capture of the second suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, 19-year-old Cambridge resident Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in nearby Watertown, which brought a massive manhunt to an end.On Saturday morning, a group of 18 runners from the Harvard College Marathon Challenge — some of whom had crossed the finish line, or failed to, on Boylston Street on Monday — met at the John Harvard Statue.Their recovery run took on added purpose after a tough week for the running community; several Harvard runners had been dangerously close to the blasts. On Friday night, senior Mark Jahnke had asked the group to join him for a slow jog along Boston’s Freedom Trail. It would be, he wrote in his email invitation, “a symbol that what we experienced this week will never take away what we experienced for four hours on Monday and will never stop us from being a united Boston.”“There was also a level of frustration,” said Daniel Grafstein, a sophomore in Kirkland House. “It was just one guy, and the whole city shut down. But I think people understand it’s what needed to be done.”Detour to slain officer’s memorialThe run had its somber moments, including a detour to the makeshift memorial for slain Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, who was gunned down Thursday night, allegedly by the two suspects. But the run also provided a way for people to come together and to make a statement, said senior Sam Singer, that “those who might hope to inspire terror have failed to keep us off our feet.”“Today’s run brought a really great sense of community,” he said.For most students, as well as everyday Harvard Square residents and visitors to campus, Saturday morning simply promised a return to normal.During the travel ban Friday, many Harvard Houses locked their gates for safety. Students were free to roam the halls and courtyards — Kirkland House even set up a croquet game and a trampoline on its lawn — but as the lockdown wore on, it seemed to give new meaning to the term spring fever.“I think people were scared and nervous and really sad for everything that’s happened this week,” said Daniel Grafstein, a sophomore in Kirkland House. “There was also a level of frustration. It was just one guy, and the whole city shut down. But I think people understand it’s what needed to be done.”Family and friends called and texted from out of state, though not as frantically as the modern-day trope of helicopter parenting would suggest.“My mom’s a pretty classic Jewish mother, but she’s been good at letting go of the reins,” Grafstein said. “She trusts me to be safe. But it was a scary week, and it could have happened to anyone.”Still, “My friend said he was called more this week than he was cumulatively the entire year.”Freshmen Leah Schwartz and Cordelia Mendez spent Friday in their residence, Hollis Hall, listening to the police scanner and watching the news.“I signed up for Tivli yesterday and watched it pretty much all day,” Schwartz said, referring to the free television streaming service started by Harvard graduates and entrepreneurs Nick Krasney ’09 and Ho Tuan ’09 that is now offered on campus. “It was hard not to.”For freshmen living in the Yard, even the decision to head out for a meal was fraught. But many ended up in Annenberg Hall, Schwartz and Mendez said, “just to feel normal.” At lunchtime, freshmen gave the dining hall’s staff a standing ovation.“It was a really nice time, only because it forced us all to be together,” Schwartz said. “We couldn’t focus on work; we couldn’t really focus on anything that required any sort of concentration.” Teachers were lenient about assignment deadlines on Friday, Mendez added.Freshmen Leah Schwartz (left) and Cordelia Mendez said they went to Annenberg Hall on Friday “just to feel normal.” “It was a really nice time, only because it forced us all to be together,” Schwartz said.Students who had planned to host admitted high school seniors for the Visitas weekend dealt with added stressors on Friday — namely, how to help their pre-frosh charges in the midst of an unprecedented crisis.Nancy De Haro, a senior in Winthrop House and a seasoned Visitas host, connected with her two visitors from Los Angeles, Marleen Sanchez and Andrea Mosqueda, Friday morning“I knew Visitas was canceled, but I told them to come over anyway,” De Haro said Saturday, as she led Sanchez and Mosqueda on a tour of the campus. “It would be too bad if the weekend went to waste, since they’re already here. There isn’t any programming, but I think they can still explore the city and ask me some questions and get something out of it.”Mosqueda, who had never flown in a plane before this week, was lucky enough to make it to Cambridge before the travel ban went into effect. A Harvard alumna on her flight found her a ride, she said. Despite her surreal entry to Boston, her assessment of Harvard so far was reassuringly common.“I really love the buildings. I want to major in civil engineering, so buildings are something I do admire,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”The surest sign of normalcy, perhaps, was the renewed flood of tourists. Campus tours roamed the streets on what became one of the first nice days of spring.“Harvard’s known all over the world,” said Ron Gabayan, an 18-year-old Israeli visiting the information center with his host family from Western Massachusetts. “I’ve been interested to come and visit here for a long time.”“I noticed this morning that [Harvard] was open again, so I said, ‘Let’s go,’ ” said his American host, Lynn Lesser. “If something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, whether you’re in Boston or Israel or wherever.” After all, she added, “He had already seen Yale. I said, ‘Harvard’s nicer.’ ”Nancy De Haro (from left), a senior in Winthrop House and a seasoned Visitas host, connected with her two visitors from Los Angeles, Marleen Sanchez and Andrea Mosqueda. “There isn’t any programming, but I think they can still explore the city and ask me some questions and get something out of it,” she said.
Most of us have been trying our best to stay at home for at least two weeks now. These days, two weeks feels like two months. We don’t all have celebrity-sized estates that allow us to forget we’re under quarantine, so cabin fever is a real battle. While being stuck at home isn’t ideal, it’s hopefully shortening the life of the coronavirus, and that’s a definite plus. If you’re looking for some other advantages of having to stay at home, here are a few things to think about…You can stop putting “it” off: There’s probably a million projects you’ve been wanting to get to around your house. There’s probably a million books you’ve picked up and then put back down. And I know there’s a million shows that have been recommended to you, only for you to say “I’ll add that to my list.” If you’ve been putting stuff off until “tomorrow”, it is now “tomorrow”.You can examine your habits: I don’t know about you guys, but this quarantine has made me realize a lot of things. One thing I’ve realized is how often I dine out. I’ve tried to continue to support some of my favorite restaurants by getting take out here and there, but I’ve definitely been cooking at home WAY more than I ever have. I’ve enjoyed the savings. If you’re used to drinking the coffee at work every day you may not realize how much caffeine you’re drinking, but when you start running out of k-cups, you’ll realize real fast if you’re drinking too much.You can learn a lot about distractions: You’re at home, your spouse is home, and your kids are home. There are distractions everywhere. This will be life for now. Because of all the distractions around you, you’ll figure out quickly how to fight through them to get stuff done. Once this is over, you’ll hopefully be able to apply some of these distraction-fighting techniques to life at the office. 79SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pettit John Pettit is the Managing Editor for CUInsight.com. John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union … Web: www.cuinsight.com Details