Improving the student experience
At the University of Reading, we’re aiming to give you the best student experience possible.
Your university years will be life-changing. Many of the friendships you form will last forever. Studying at a high level will change the way you think and learn for good. And you’re building the wider skills that will put you on the path to a successful career.
The University often asks for feedback on your experience and we try and act on it. At this time of year, we like to let you know what we’ve done to improve your experience and to support you through university.
In many areas we work very closely with your independent representatives, Reading University Students’ Union – one of the top ten student unions in the UK. They run the clubs and societies you enjoy, for example, and the University supports them. And when they lobby for your interests, from quicker academic feedback to outstanding social spaces, we act.
The more you engage with the University, via student representation or directly through surveys or contacting staff, the more we can do to improve your time here. Here’s some examples of how we get ‘on it’. And on top of these, don’t forget the Christmas fair coming up – funded and organized by the University and promoted and supported by RUSU.
Supporting you, personally and academically
£7m distributed in student financial support every year
Through bursaries, hardship funds, scholarships and fee discounts, the University of Reading helps to ensure finance isn’t a barrier – spending over £7m a year on financial support.
£300,000 from former students, to current students
Many University of Reading students want to give back after they’ve graduated, and alumni donations, through the Annual Fund, support around 40 projects to improve student life every year – from equipment for student societies to funded work experience opportunities. Most of this £300,000 is additional to the £7m mentioned above.
1:1 support when you need it, personally or academically
Whether it’s help with study or support when you’re down, we’re here for you. Academically, support is provided through Personal Tutors, Study Advisers, Liaison Librarians and the Maths Support Team. And IT Services are on hand to help with computer and network needs. For welfare, there is a counselling service available and many other sources of support, including Hall Wardens, and we have increased staff in these areas year on year.
£4.4m spectacular Library renovation
The Library renovation is ongoing and provides superb study space for you, whether you want a quiet, silent, or group study area. In response to student demand, it is now open 24 hours a day during term time.
The Library also invests every year to make sure you have the right learning resources. This year it has continued to invest heavily in electronic resources. In addition to buying 1,525 eBooks in a range of subjects, the Library purchased several key databases, archives and reference works.
100% wifi coverage on campus
Whiteknights Campus and London Road Campus now have full wifi coverage indoors and throughout all the key external spaces. All halls have wifi in communal spaces and soon all hall student rooms will have wifi too (already over 80% are covered).
15-day turnaround time: our pledge to you
As of this academic year, the University is implementing a new 15-day turnaround time policy for assessment of coursework, in direct response to student feedback through the National Student Survey (NSS) and via other channels, including RUSU campaigning.
We pledge that the standard turnaround time for individual feedback and marks on coursework (formative and summative) will be a maximum of 15 working days from the submission date.
The policy applies equally to full-time and part-time students, and to full-time, part-time and sessional staff.
Major pieces of work, such as dissertations and final year projects (normally 40 credits) are exempt. Moderation of coursework can also take place outside the fifteen working day turnaround period, but students must be appropriately informed when feedback is provided if the mark is still subject to internal or external moderation.
The updated University feedback policy also sets out expectations in relation to feedback quality, the use of assessment criteria and feedback forms.
If you’re not receiving your feedback within the allotted time you should report this to your School Director of Teaching and Learning (School Director of Studies at HBS) and your Course Rep (or the RUSU Educaton Officer firstname.lastname@example.org).
Helping you succeed in your chosen career
2,000 students every year on work placements
The opportunity to do a work placement is available on every undergraduate course and 2,000 students every year take it up.
For those who need them, placement bursaries (to support living costs while on placement) are available – one hundred were given out in the last year, a big increase on the previous year.
Internships are another opportunity to prepare for the world of work, and the University offers many internship opportunities through the careers service. We also invest in funded internships to provide a salary where the internship itself does not, so you can make the most of the opportunity without being out of pocket. These numbered around 30 last year, on top of 45 paid internships through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP), in which students work on top-level research projects with academics across the University.
Opportunity for every student to do a Henley Business School leadership course
As of this year, the one-day Henley Future Leaders programme is available to all University of Reading students and offers the chance to take advantage of the triple-accredited world-leading business school right on your doorstep.
The programme is an opportunity to develop your understanding of leadership, change, entrepreneurship and personal development through a series of stimulating lectures and seminars. You will be inspired by influential business leaders, entrepreneurs and experienced academics who will share their own reflections on what has made them successful.
You will also participate in interactive career development sessions run by Henley Careers designed to help you recognise your own leadership skills. You will develop an understanding of how you can use your full potential to boost your employability.
Language learning and/or study and work abroad opportunities as part of any degree
Having a global outlook will really give you an edge. Language learning is available to every student, either for credits within the degree or alongside it. Study or work abroad opportunities are available on many courses.
Making the most of your free time
£1.2m transformation of Student Union social space – Mojo’s and Mondial
RUSU’s social and drinking spaces are the adjoined Mondial (a café by day and a bar on club nights) and Mojo’s (a pub/bar). The University is investing £1.2m to build an extension of the Students’ Union lounge area adjacent to Mojo’s bar and Cafe Mondial to join and extend the two, making a bigger, more versatile, first-class social space.
24-hour bus service to and from town
The University negotiated with the local bus company to ensure that the bus service coming onto campus runs all night.
More sports facilities
The University is providing two new sports pavilion, due in 2015, and has resurfaced the hockey pitch.
A superb new football facility is being created at Bulmershe, with five pitches and changing rooms that meets the FA specification for lower-league games. The facilities will be used by University football teams on Wednesday afternoons; for inter-university matches; and by the local community at weekends. The new pavilion will also have a meeting room and kitchenette.
Another sports pavilion is going up right on Whiteknights campus. The pavilion will include a multi-sport changing facility and club room to be used by everyone booking outdoor pitches: rugby, football, cricket, hockey, lacrosse, American football etc. The club room can be used for team meetings and coaching talks or to provide refreshments.
A–Z of activities, from Animé to Zumba
RUSU offers clubs and societies covering a huge range of interests – and opportunities to set up your own if a club for your particular enthusiasm doesn’t already exist. 2,500 students are involved in clubs and societies at any one time.
No lectures on Wednesday afternoons
In response to student requests, Wednesday afternoons are clear for sporting and other pursuits.
The University is working with RUSU to get the whole community feeling festive. Come to the Christmas Fair on 3 December for skating, fairground rides, seasonal food and drink, and a novelty photo booth, and remind yourself why you love being at the University of Reading.