Is anybody listening?
In the first of a series of blog posts on PGR feedback, Elizabeth Adams, Researcher Development Manager, gives us a personal account of her role in how the University collects, analyses and responds to PGR feedback both from the PRES survey and from other sources.
One of the things I found most surprising (and frustrating) when I started in this job, was just how long it can take to get stuff done. Like an oil tanker turning, most universities are guilty of passing things through endless committees and internal systems before waiting for the next academic cycle to take any action. In contrast, one of the main advantages I find when working with student reps is that as they're only here for a year, they expect action at a faster pace.
So what happens in May when we get the PRES results?
First, there is some number crunching where we check the data - for example, whether we have responses coded to the right school and that none of the text comments will allow people to be identified. We look for common themes or interesting trends and try to group comments where applicable. Making sure we get these results to the right people in the University- the ones who can make a difference-can take a while. Some want the results broken down a certain way (such as by gender or Home/International status), whilst others want to compare with other Universities, or are only interested in feedback relating to their particular service. We also share the results online, and attend a number of events and meetings to get discussion going throughout the summer.
Then what happens with all the feedback?
The Deans of Graduate Studies Committee discuss the feedback at their first meeting of the academic year. They will then agree priority areas for action for the coming year, which they will have to report back on in early 2018.
We will keep our webpages updated with what we are doing and monthly blog posts will focus on particular themes where we are undertaking projects in response to feedback, such as PGR wellbeing and community or the annual progress review.
However, PRES isn't the only way in which we gather feedback.
You might have been involved in recent projects on the PGR community or the role of PGR convenors so we will also use the blog as a space to update you on those.
Finally, this blog itself and our twitter are a great place to get involved in the conversation about how we tailor and improve what we do. I have learnt more from our bloggers and guest posters than I would ever have imagined last year and I think we've seen lots of great things coming out of conversations on the blog, from the distance PGR network to the parenting group and PGR gardening. So stay involved, we are listening.
We’d love to hear from you- as ever, please drop us a line in the comments below, and don’t forget you can follow us over on Twitter and Instagram- @UofG_PGRblog.