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Annual report 2019-20

Student experience

Illustration of a student sitting with a laptop.

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Step up to Masters

Our Step Up to Masters resource won the prestigious Digital Award for Information Literacy, which recognises innovative and high impact digital resources in the UK.

Developed by our Learning Services and Learning Technologies Teams, Step Up to Masters supports student transition to taught postgraduate study. It has a particular focus on Masters-level academic skills development.

The resource was informed by large-scale surveys and follow-up focus groups with Masters students. It is designed to complement departments’ own induction and transition programmes.

Gave me a good overview of what to expect in the time as a Masters student, both academically and from a general perspective in terms of time management, coordinating tasks and managing other commitments and my physical and mental wellbeing.

Masters student

Step Up to Masters received over 16,000 page views in 2019–20 and has garnered positive comments from students and academic colleagues.

This success follows a nomination for the same award in 2019 for the online course Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction, created in partnership with the Digital Education Service.

Customer Service Excellence

In 2019, an independent assessor performed our three-year reaccreditation exercise for Customer Service Excellence. The assessment evaluated our range of services, our focus on the user experience, and our commitment to engaging with partners to improve and develop our service.

The Library was awarded “Compliance Plus” for five specific criteria:

  • Developing customer insight about our customer groups, to better understand their needs and preferences
  • Empowering and encouraging our staff to actively promote and participate in our customer-focused culture
  • Demonstrating how customer-facing staff insight and experience is incorporated into our service planning
  • Acting within, and supporting, wider communities
  • Agreeing with our customers at the outset what they can expect from our service.

We are enormously proud of our Customer Service Excellence accreditation, and what it shows about our customer-focused approach when working with students, academics and services throughout the University.

FUAM prize

The annual Friends of University Art and Music (FUAM) Graduate Art Prize and exhibition went virtual this year, celebrating the artistic excellence of students completing BA studies in Art and Design and Fine Art.

The online exhibition featured the work of finalists Sasha Napoli, Emma Lawrence, Poppy Jones-Little and T’Shah Henry.

We worked closely with the finalists to create short videos to promote their work across our social media platforms. T’Shah Henry was announced as the 2020 winner at an online event on 14 October.

The exhibition was viewed 1,094 times from 63 different countries since its launch on 3 August. The online people’s vote garnered 326 responses and was won by Sasha Napoli.

West Building refurbishment

In January 2020 we opened our newly refurbished ground floor of the Brotherton West Building, adding around 150 new study places.

The furniture and design choices evoke some of the grandeur of the original Brotherton building to create high quality study space. The large solid oak desks with power and individual lighting are a modern take on the 1930s furniture, and the colour palette is based on the greens and purples of the Swedish marble columns in the main reading room.

The atrium area is a breakout space, with large high-backed sofas alongside small moveable desks and chairs. The open sofa design allows for group work, alongside single-scholar activity in smaller unpowered study pods, allowing optimum use of the space according to student needs.

In the months prior to lockdown this was one of the most popular spaces in the libraries. Social distancing has significantly reduced the use of the space, but we look forward to seeing students gathering here once again.

Staying high with 91% in the NSS

In 2020 the University scored 91% for question 19 of the National Student Survey.

the library resources (eg books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well

Question 19, National Student Survey

This was a significant achievement for the Library and a strong endorsement of the quality and range of our services. It placed us second highest in the Russell Group (and highest in England), and amongst only a handful of generalist institutions nationwide to score so highly.

This result cements a long and consistent history of success in the NSS – our library has been in the top two of Russell Group universities for each of the last four years.