5. Student representation and feedback

Student feedback is provided first of all through the Graduate Joint Consultative Committee (usually just called the JCC), which brings together members of both the academic and non-academic staff with student representatives to discuss matters of mutual concern at a meeting held every term. The student representatives are selected entirely and freely by the student body, this being a matter in which no member of staff is allowed to play any part. The committee meetings are normally chaired by a student, and the minutes may be taken by either the chairperson or a member of the non-academic staff. The academic staff should not occupy any positions on this committee, though they attend its meetings to discuss issues of concern with students. The minutes of JCC meetings are circulated to both students and staff, and student representatives (reps) sit on a number of departmental and divisional committees.

A system of feedback forms is also in use for students to provide their comments on lectures, classes and, where appropriate, tutorials, as well as the School’s overall administrative and technical provision for its students. Some course directors use their own forms, but a standard form can also be downloaded from the anthropology website. One form may be filled in at or just after the end of any course of lectures or classes you have attended as listed on the relevant lecture list (NB: not for tutorials). Note that some courses extend over more than one term (e.g. some options). Forms that have been downloaded by students themselves should be handed in to the general office in 51 Banbury Road. Alternatively individual lecturers may prefer to hand them out themselves and either collect them at the end of the last lecture in the series, or ask students to hand them in to the general office.

In order to preserve your anonymity forms should not be signed or marked with any name. Completed forms will be reviewed by the lecturer concerned in the first instance and are also subject to review by the DGS and/or relevant departmental committees to monitor the quality of departmental teaching and provision. However, changes pursuant to feedback exercises cannot be guaranteed. There is no obligation on students to fill in forms, though they are strongly encouraged to do so where appropriate.

 

5.1 Graduate Supervision Report Forms (Graduate Supervision Reporting system or GSR)

Each term, supervisors have to issue a report on the performance of each of their students. This is done online, and the students, their colleges, the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and some departmental administrative staff have access to them. Before they come to supervisors, however, students are given an opportunity to report on their own progress as they see it and flag up any concerns they may have. Their reports are reviewed by the supervisor, DGS and college authorities.

Students are prompted directly by e-mail from Student Administration towards the end of each term to make their own reports, after which they have roughly two weeks to do so.

Except for ESRC-funded students, student participation in this exercise is voluntary, but is strongly encouraged. Reports are not confidential, in the sense that they may be viewed by students’ supervisors, colleges, the DGS and some departmental administrative staff. Nonetheless all students are encouraged to make use of the facility to improve the chances of problems being detected in good time to do something about them.

This facility is not intended for making complaints, for which other arrangements exist (see Section 6.12).

The Social Sciences Division of the University has issued the following advice about graduate

supervision reporting:

At the end of each term, your supervisor(s) will submit a report on your academic progress. To facilitate this reporting, the University operates an online Graduate Supervision Reporting system (GSR). Within this system, you have the opportunity to contribute to your termly supervision reports by reviewing and commenting on your own progress.

You are strongly encouraged to take the opportunity to review and comment on your academic progress, any skills training you have undertaken or may need to the future, and on your engagement with the academic community (e.g. seminar/conference attendance or any teaching you have undertaken).

Your supervisor(s) will review and comment on your academic progress and performance during the current term and assess skills and training needs to be addressed during the next term. Your supervisor should discuss the report with you, as it will form the basis for feedback on your progress, for identifying areas where further work is required, for reviewing your progress against an agreed timetable, and for agreeing plans for the term ahead.

When reporting on academic progress, students on taught courses should review progress during the current term, and measure this progress against the timetable and requirements for their programme of study. Students on doctoral programmes should reflect on the progress made with their research project during the current term, including written work (e.g. drafts of chapters) and you should assess this against the plan of research that has been agreed with your supervisor(s).

All students should briefly describe which subject-specific research skills and more general personal/professional skills they have acquired or developed during the current term. You should include attendance at relevant classes that form part of your programme of study and also include courses, seminars or workshops offered or arranged by your department or the Division. Students should also reflect on the skills required to undertake the work they intend to carry out. You should mention any skills you do not already have or you may wish to strengthen through undertaking training.

If you have any complaints about the supervision you are receiving, you should raise this with your Director of Graduate Studies. You should not use the supervision reporting system as a mechanism for complaints.

Students are asked to report in weeks 6 and 7 of term. Once you have completed your sections of the online form, it will be released to your supervisor(s) for completion and will also be visible to your Director of Graduate Studies and to your College Advisor. When the supervisor’s sections are completed, you will be able to view the report, as will the relevant Director of Graduate Studies and your college advisor. Directors of Graduate Studies are responsible for ensuring that appropriate supervision takes place, and this is one of the mechanisms they use to obtain information about supervision. College advisors are a source of support and advice to students, and it is therefore important that they are informed of your progress, including concerns (expressed by you and/or your supervisor).