For most students, taking the time to fill in the National Student Survey would not be their first choice. For eight weeks, students had the opportunity to complete the evaluation form - which took around 30 minutes - but during that period only 34.9% of Utrecht’s students let their voice be heard. That means two-thirds of the students opted not to answer the seemingly endless series of questions, as there are lots of other things that one could do during that half hour.
You could enjoy a cup of coffee with another student; you can walk from the Koningsberger building to Tricolore for lunch, or you can watch the next episode of your favourite series on Netflix. There are countless ways that students can spend their time ‘better’. And yet, it is not such a bad idea for students to invest a half hour in completing the NSS, as the results give Utrecht University valuable information about its own educational activities. The survey results provide insight into which specific elements in our curriculum work well, and where there is room for improvement. Once we know what works and what doesn’t we can find out the reason behind that. Utrecht University can then use that information to improve its curriculum. So the students’ opinions are an important foundation for that process.
Five crates of beer
During the eight weeks of the survey, student board member for the Biology department Brigit has worked very hard to encourage her fellow students to complete the NSS. She was already responsible for a large number of the surveys completed by Biology students, but she doubled her efforts when the Vice-Dean of Education, Gerard Barkema, offered five crates of beer to the UBV if Biology achieved a response percentage of 33.3%. Brigit and the Biology ODC put everything they had into achieving that goal, but it looked like it was going to turn into a race against the clock, as the response factor at the start of the last week of the survey period was still only 29.8%.
Compliments for the effort
So the Biology students, and especially Brigit and the members of the ODC, must have been excited as they awaited the results. Would there be any free beer from the Vice-Dean?
The Biology students were relieved when the final tally was announced: 38.8% - beer is on the Vice-Dean! But the Biology department was also pleased with the percentage, as it can put the quantity of feedback to good use. We therefore expect that everyone at the department is pleased with the efforts of Brigit and the Biology ODC.
The Board of the Faculty of Science likes to thank all students for their hard work. These efforts more than deserve the Compliments of the Dean!