Enhancing student satisfaction - Keele teaching excellence showcased at national TEF conference

Keele University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Professor Mark Ormerod, was invited to present the University’s approach to achieving outstanding levels of student engagement and satisfaction, on the journey to TEF Gold.

Professor Ormerod was one of a small number of invited speakers at the Inside Government conference - ‘The Next Steps for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)’ - and was asked to share insights into the University’s excellent student satisfaction and engagement ratings.

Keele University has grown very significantly in student numbers in recent years, yet has maintained its place at the top of national student satisfaction tables, placed 1st in England in the National Student Survey (NSS) for four out of the last five years. Keele is also joint No.1 in England for Student Satisfaction with Course in the Guardian University League Table 2019, was awarded University of the Year for Student Experience by the Times Good University Guide 2017, and was awarded TEF Gold in 2017.

Professor Ormerod discussed how a range of factors contributed to the outstanding levels of student engagement and satisfaction, including having high quality and highly committed staff across the whole institution, including outstanding student support, the very strong and inclusive community, an equal focus on both research and teaching, the large integrated campus, a research-led curriculum and environment, and an attractive portfolio and curriculum, which offers both choice and breadth through an elective stream.

Professor Ormerod also shared the University’s approach to enabling all students to craft their educational experience through the distinctive ‘Keele Curriculum’, which blends academic and extracurricular activities. This ability for students to co-construct their learning journey enhances learning gain and increases student satisfaction. Engagement with extra-curricular activities, including volunteering, is very high. Student engagement is nurtured by consistently consulting and engaging the student voice on all aspects of learning, including the development of the curriculum and co-producing the TEF submission.

Professor Ormerod also discussed the importance of balancing teaching and research, and how an exceptional learning environment is created at Keele through investing in innovative resources and formal learning spaces, such as a Crime Scene Investigation House, a 3D Teaching Cinema and, most recently, state-of-the-art Science Laboratories, as well as informal learning spaces.

Professor Ormerod commented:

“It was a pleasure to be able to share our incredibly positive story of teaching excellence and outstanding student experience, outlining the importance of high levels of student satisfaction and enhancing teaching excellence in achieving TEF Gold.”

Throughout the conference, delegates discussed the future of the TEF, including the move to subject-level TEF, and how teaching excellence will be measured in their institution. They shared best practice on demonstrating teaching excellence, enhancing student outcomes, improving the learning environment and increasing student satisfaction. Other speakers included Siobhan O’Malley, TEF Manager, Office for Students, and Dr Andrew Gunn, Researcher in Higher Education Policy, University of Leeds.