We use research to find out more about students’ experiences at Bristol. The results are used to both improve our own services and to lobby the University to improve the student experience.
For example our BME Attainment Gap research project has led to the introduction of Student Ambassadors at the University, who will be recruited in 2018/19. It has also led to us launching the Bristol BME Power List.
Below are some of the key pieces of research and student consultancy that we use to help inform the direction of the SU. You can find out more about our research here.
In February 2017 Bristol SU launched the BME Attainment Gap Project. This project was commissioned by 2016/17 Equality, Liberation and Access Officer Hannah Dualeh and aimed to identify possible reasons for the existence of the BME attainment gap at the University of Bristol by exploring the experiences of BME students at the institution.
The research found that BME students often experienced feelings of isolation, and a majority felt that BME representation within the student and staff body was poor. 55% of survey respondents felt that BME representation in the student body was extremely or relatively bad and 67% felt that BME representation in the academic staff body was extremely or relatively bad. 18% reported feeling that the teaching and learning environment was cliquey and isolating and only 5% of students described their teaching and learning environment as diverse.
Awareness of equality policies was low, with 50% of respondents unaware of the Unacceptable Behaviour policy, through which students could make a complaint of racism or discrimination.
The ‘Let’s Talk About TEF’ research project was launched in February 2018 by 2017/18 Undergraduate Education Officer Mason Ammar.
The project came from a desire to continue challenging the marketised nature of the TEF, following the successful NSS boycott campaign run by Bristol SU in 2016/17.
Let’s Talk About TEF aimed to explore Bristol students’ perspectives on the TEF and to build an alternative Teaching Excellence Framework which would capture what teaching excellence really means to Bristol students.
Over February and March 2018 six focus groups were held with students, predominantly course reps, and one focus group was held with teaching staff. The report was presented to the University of Bristol’s Education Committee and will later be submitted to the planned 2019 review of the TEF being conducted by the government.
In April 2018 Bristol SU launched the ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ survey. The survey was commissioned by 2017/18 Equality, Liberation and Access Officer Des Ibekwe, to help Bristol SU and the University of Bristol gain a more comprehensive understanding of students’ experiences of sex and relationships whilst they are studying at UoB.
The survey also aimed to provide Bristol SU and the University with a greater understanding of students’ experiences of sexual harassment and sexual violence. This was an area which the Students’ Union had long campaigned on, but did not have much evidence regarding.
The report was presented to the University of Bristol’s Student Experience Committee and the Joint Forum Against Sexual Violence and Harassment, which includes members of staff from UWE, UoB, Bath Spa and the University of Bath.