With cap on student intake being lifted this year the University of Bath has smashed previous student numbers, as proven by being one of the few universities to not got into clearing. But what of all these extra students, do they have the same level of experience that has seen us previously reach the top on the Student Satisfaction Survey for two years running?
I mean yes, since my Fresher’s year there’s the large Chancellors’ building for more lectures, the Quads for more accommodation and the Lime Tree to expand the eateries and ‘study space’. Even the Arts are getting their share with the recently built Edge building. Whilst I still get giddy when I see I have my next lecture in CB 1.1 – ‘like the movies brooo’ – I can’t help but notice that the underlying reason why we are here, education, is really not improving that much on a day to day basis. Look don’t go shouting ‘nerd’, I am 100% aware that there is so much more to university life than just the classes, but you have to admit; it is why you came here in the first place… unless you missed your offer from Oxbridge cough*econ kids*cough.
Currently some lectures are being held twice by the same lecturer because of class sizes! One of the first things you look at when making application choices on UCAS is average class sizes and just before, contact-hours. I understand that there are new lecturers teaching some new classes but chances are they are replacing a lecturer who left with his option also vanishing. Understandably the University is improving yes, but not at the speed to match the increased intake.
The prime example is the shared room crisis and that’s just overlooking the poor freshers that have to find a house in Oldfield. On the one side the argument can say – look at all these fancy Quads with the fancy mood lighting we made – but it begs the question – why have we had to literally squeeze all these extra students in?
Listen I love the outdoors, I’d be the first to pitch up my tent on some mountain or by the beach, but for a week or so max, not a whole academic year! That’s right, these freshers have been put up on campbeds while they snuggle up next to a room-mate and their loved one in their fancy double bed! Well neither can even work in peace by their desk as they share that, just like all the shelf-space. From bathimpact’s dubious investigative reporting we seem to have uncovered the only doubled item is their chairs, whoop-de-do! It’s a little unsettling that the University seem to be building all these fancy (yes okay I seem to like that word) new facilities to improve the student experience but can’t even provide a second lamp to City freshers.
Most students in these situations have mentioned they wouldn’t even have minded under proper circumstances. If the facilities provided had been properly suited for sharing, it wouldn’t have been such a problem living in such a tight room. Never mind the fact they were only told of this situation a few weeks before arriving at the University. It’s tough for everyone to admit the USA might be doing something better – but sometimes it’s got to be said. They have it all set up properly; their rooms have bunkbeds, three desks, multiple sinks and (a bit) of personal storage space.
The University’s focus may have strayed a little. They continue to attract more students, more professors/researchers and more investors but it doesn’t look like the improvement is in sync with the need to satisfy larger numbers.
How will the students who are sharing these rooms respond in the Student Satisfaction Survey in a few years time? My money’s on third time not so lucky.