The Universities Executive Board and Senate has put in place a series of actions to address issues raised by the results, particularly the ‘Student Voice’ and ‘Assessment and feedback’ results which stand at just 68% and 71% satisfaction respectively. In each of the sectors the University has seen a decrease in positive student responses to questions on their experiences at Newcastle University. Students responded with a 5% fall in teaching satisfaction, declining from 90% in 2016 to 85% in 2017.
The University still hold a Gold Award in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). But despite this, other measures of student satisfaction have also fallen. Satisfaction in ‘Organisation and Management’ fell by 7% to 80% in 2017 while ‘Academic support’ fell to 82%, 4% less than the previous year.
The overall decrease in student satisfaction was not limited to Newcastle University alone, as the overall national percentage of students satisfied with their university course has also fallen for the second year in a row.
Ongoing industrial action could be speculated as one of the reasons for this continued decrease in satisfaction, as planned disruption of teaching as part of the UCU pension strikes took place over four weeks in the 2017/18 academic year.
The University has also seen a fall in the percentage of undergraduate students in graduate level outcomes six months after graduating, falling from 82.6% to 80.7%. The University has stated this drop is due to a reduction in the number of medicine and dentistry graduates and “changes in the makeup of our graduate population”.
This comes with the news that there has been a huge decrease in international students between 2016 and 2017. Newcastle saw a 9% fall in international student numbers while overall student numbers have increased by 7%. This is because of increased international tuition fees and ‘greater competition within the UK.’
This is after universities and businesses called for a change to International Student Visas. Currently students who have come from outside of the EU are only given four months after their graduation to secure an employer sponsorship and a minimum salary of £20,800. The new visa would allow international students to work in the UK for up to two years after they graduate.
Vice-Chancellor Chris Day has not officially supported the propositions but has previously stated: “The North East economy benefits significantly as international students generated £514m in export earnings, and expenditure from these students supported 2,032 full-time equivalent jobs.
“One in every 66 international students in the UK is studying at Newcastle University and the city is a richer and more vibrant place due to their valued contribution.”