We’re on it!

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

Ready to thrive?

£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.

Read the University Feedback Policy in full

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 educationofficer@rusu.co.uk).

Helping you succeed in your chosen career

Ready to succeed?

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

Ready to get active?

£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.

Christmas Fair!
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.

3 thoughts on “We’re on it!

  1. Instead of spending all that money to join cafe mondial and mojo’s bar, its worth spreading out the union a bit as everything is so claustrophobic. A salon , job shop, post office, supermarket etc all in one building sounds impressive but all these establishments don’t have enough room in them.
    The ‘support’ we have isn’t enough. Lecturers are rarely there when you need their help and i wouldn’t go to counselling for problems in organic chemistry would i?
    All that money being pumped into library should be used in making sure there are enough study spaces and computers. sometimes students struggle to find seating spaces in study areas and the number of computers available in s@il isn’t enough for a third of the entire university.
    The university DOES NOT work on feedback received as several complaints made in certain areas over the last year have yet to see improvement. The entire campus is a big joke from the fact that we don’t have lectures in our own department buildings, overpriced items in university’s own supermarket which you can’t even do a proper food shop in, teaching staff with poor English to the ridiculous distribution of halls of residence and catering venues on campus.

    1. Hi, thank you for taking the time to comment on this news item. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this (and for the lengthy reply!).
      The refurbishment work undertaken by RUSU has been to improve and maximise the current facilities in the Students’ Union building. The space issue in the Students’ Union building is constantly under review and to that end Campus Central moved from the building to larger premises in 2011. The University (and Students’ Union) constantly monitor their real estate and look for ways to use them more efficiently. You might want to feed your comments about the Union spaces back to RUSU directly, either via the Student Officers or their ‘Change it’ platform.
      I’m sorry to hear that you don’t feel that you can easily access academic support. We have a dedicated Study Advice team who can help you with academic issues. For a limited number of Departments we have ASK advisers who can be approached for academic advice – we’re always looking to engage with Departments to help us expand this network! In 2015/6 we will be running a pilot project of a Peer Learning Network who will provide academic support on group work basis.
      The Library refurbishment has produced more individual and group work study spaces, without impacting upon the S@iL facility. Whilst the majority of our students use their own laptops and devices we recognise that there is still a need for centrally maintained PC lab facilities. S@iL is just one of these areas and there are others across the campus (http://www.reading.ac.uk/pc-availability). The University and RUSU also responded to student feedback on the need for more study space by creating The Study in RUSU, open 24 hours most days – a facility with study space, wifi, outdoor seating and a kitchen. It was created thanks to a £240,000 investment from the University. The Library refurbishment will continue so please do make your voice heard when they ask for feedback on the next round of developments.
      We have mechanisms to receive feedback and act up on it where appropriate. These include surveys, module evaluation questionnaires, Course Reps and Staff/Student Liaison Committees. Sometimes the University might not move as swiftly as we would like, but we do take your feedback very seriously. If you feel that feedback on a certain issue isn’t being considered properly you can take this up with the Students’ Union who will act impartially on your behalf to investigate the issue for you.
      On your last points – as mentioned above, the University has a huge estate to manage and the logistics of running so many courses means that we cannot guarantee that lectures should take place in a certain department. Campus Central is run by RUSU in conjunction with the Co-op, admittedly it’s not as cheap as Lidl’s, but does offer students the chance to grab essentials and top-up their weekly shop. We have a very diverse workforce and academics who come from across the globe – they are employed for their abilities to teach and conduct world-leading research (which in turn informs their teaching). We offer our staff pronunciation courses if they feel that they need to brush up on their spoken English. We are a global university who celebrate diversity and encourage tolerance and excellence.
      Finally, the majority of our halls are based on campus and are within 10-15 minutes walking distance of the centre of campus. If you feel we haven’t quite got the distribution of our catering venues right please feel free to provide feedback via the form here – http://www.reading.ac.uk/catering/Cater_Feedback.aspx
      If there are any specific issue you would like to discuss further please feel free to contact me at r.j.sandford@reading.ac.uk
      [Please note that we have slightly edited your original comment]
      Many thanks,
      Richard

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