Are you a key influencer for students?
11 Mar 2014
The National Student Survey is now open for most final year undergraduates across the University, and colleagues in Schools and Faculties play a major part in encouraging responses from our students.
Students hear about the National Student Survey from many different places – not least a well-drilled operation by the survey organisers, Ipsos MORI. But there is one group that has more influence on increasing response rates than most – key influencers within academic Schools. Here are some tips for using your influence in the right way:
- Staff in Schools can have a big impact…
National research from Ipsos MORI shows that, after their direct mailing, most students become aware of the NSS through a member of staff.
- …which can be good or bad.
That means that what you say to students about the NSS can make a difference to whether or not they’ll complete the survey.
We all know that the National Student Survey isn’t perfect, but it does give us genuinely useful data about students’ experience of their time studying for an undergraduate degree. It includes everything, from their extra-curricular activities to the most important aspect: teaching and learning.
- Explain why it’s important to you.
Your influence is linked to trust, so your reasons for asking students to take the survey need to be genuine. What is it about the National Student Survey that is most important to you – is it the information about employability advice, or is the free-text section on teaching of more interest? Make the case to your students based on how you can use the feedback.
- Influence doesn’t have to be in the lecture theatre.
It’s tempting to think that the best way to influence students is to talk to them in lecture time – and there are powerpoint slides available for those who wish to do so – but this may not always be necessary.
If you have a relationship with students through another channel – such as Blackboard or a regular email – this can be just as influential as taking up precious teaching time. The most important thing to remember, whichever channel you use, is to have a clear, authentic message.
Remember that the aim is to get students to give their honest response to the NSS, not to encourage a positive response. Any attempt by staff to influence the outcome of the NSS may result in Ipsos MORI not publishing the University’s results, with serious consequences.
Even if you don’t work in an academic School, you can still play your part. Encourage eligible students that you meet to complete the survey at:
You can find more information about the National Student Survey at: