Blog & Opinion
Stagnating satisfaction: time to take measures
I carefully studied the results from the National Students Survey (NSE) this weekend. How satisfied are students with their studies? How does The Hague University of Applied Sciences come out in this report? The average score is 3.81 (on a scale of 1 to 5), which is slightly lower than last year (3.83). The results behind this figure are less rosy than we had aimed for in several important areas.
Student satisfaction has risen over the last years and now stagnation is a national trend. My concern in the overall assessment is not so much the sub-scores. For content, which is the most important factor for student satisfaction, we scored 3.59. We scored significantly lower for three sub-questions than in the previous year and the rest are more or less the same. You can see this as a satisfactory score (a good C), but I would like to see results increasing. In my view, a good target would be 4.00 for general satisfaction in 2020 and at least 3.80 for content.
On the subject of lecturers, we do considerably worse than other universities of applied sciences. Our scores have fallen for the sub-questions ‘extent to which lecturers are inspiring’ and ‘lecturers’ knowledge about professional practice’ (from 3.34 to 3.30 and from 3.78 to 3.74 respectively). In this and four other sub-questions about lecturers, we scored lower than our reference group (the G5 universities of applied sciences: Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, InHolland University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and Utrecht University of Applied Sciences). Naturally you can understand that we would like to see this change.
We hope to eventually see results increasing. We have invested in professional training for lecturers. Over the last two years we have also invested additional funds to reduce the workload of lecturers. This should have a positive effect on the quality of the education that we provide. We are already examining how this money has been spent so far, what it has delivered and how we can use these funds more effectively. We are investing in teams, so that we can work with each other on engaging education and enhancing the feasibility of our degree programmes.
Measures per degree programme
Of course, there is also a lot to be said about the results from the NSE at the degree programme level. Some programmes gained a higher score than they did in the past. And some programmes have made less progress than anticipated. We need to focus measures at the degree programme level to make these results increase or for them to continue increasing. That is why I will meet with programme managers and others about what we can learn from the NSE and how we can make improvements. Other members of staff are also warmly welcome to join this meeting about the NSE on 30 May at 5 pm. You can register using this link.
Let’s all make efforts to improve the points I have mentioned so that next year we can show our NSE report to each other and the outside world with pride.
Leonard Geluk has been Chair of the Executive Board since 1 April 2014. Prior to this, he served as Alderman of Education for Rotterdam and Chairman of a Regional Training Centre in Utrecht.