Supervisor standards are a “departmental lottery”

Students have voiced concerns about the level of supervision on courses. Photo: University of York

Students have voiced concerns about the level of supervision on courses. Photo: University of York

Early results from the Student Experience Survey indicated that over 20 per cent of the students in their departments across York had a unsatisfying experience with the supervisory system within their department.

The results showed a lack of consistency in the supervisory systems across the University, with some departments notably outperforming others.

The department which came out of the survey worst was the Philosophy Department with 25.8 per cent of students being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the level of supervision.

The Politics Department, which had 22.6 per cent, the Language and Linguistics Department, which had 22.4 per cent and Economics, which had 22.2 per cent also fared badly.

Hugo Brook, a first-year Economics student, commented: “York’s Economics Department seems so heavily focused on research that it doesn’t pay the slightest attention to the teaching or even basic communication abilities of its lecturers.”

Another first year student commented on disparity between the quality of different department supervisors, calling the system a a “departmental lottery.”

One course rep added that, “supervision is varied, some are fantastic and some are appalling.”

The survey was the largest ever done at York and had over 2,500 students participating. A spokesman for the University declined to comment, saying that it was not possible for the University to respond as the full survey had yet to be published.

Ben Humphrey’s, YUSU Academic Officer, told Nouse: ”Its becoming clear that the new policy on sueprvision isn’t going to address the challenges that some of our departments face in this area; we need to ask those departments to take a long hardlook at what they have in place and change it.”

The review of the supervisor system comes after an audit performed by the Quality Assurance Agency in 2007, advised the University “to revise its approach to the management of university-wide changes in teaching and learning, to ensure that the speed of implementation better addresses the needs of current students.”

However, under newly implemented reforms combined honours students only have a supervisor in one of their two departments of study.

Following consultations a number of departments have also cut the number of compulsory meetings with supervisors to just one per term, showing a further decrease in academic and welfare contact time for York students.

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