UWE Bristol moves into top 10 in UK for student satisfaction

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The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has climbed into the top 10 universities in the UK for student satisfaction.

Results from the latest National Student Survey (NSS) have revealed a record 89 per cent of UWE Bristol final year students were satisfied with their course overall, an increase of one percentage point on 2017.

The rise – the fourth consecutive annual increase recorded at the University – comes as the average overall satisfaction score across the higher education sector dipped from 84 per cent to 83 per cent.

UWE Bristol is now the highest ranked university for overall student satisfaction of all 18 institutions in the University Alliance, a group of British universities focused on technical and professional education.

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol, said: “I’m absolutely delighted our overall score has increased to 89 per cent. This is outstanding in its own right and even more impressive in a year where the sector has declined to 83 per cent.

“This is a really tremendous achievement and one that has only been achieved by hard work, focus and a genuinely collaborative effort.”

The 2018 National Student Survey, carried out by the Office for Students and the UK higher education funding bodies, captured the views of more than 320,000 students

The annual survey sees students reflect on their time at university, offering their verdict on topics ranging from teaching and assessment to resources and academic support. It was introduced in 2005 to help inform the choices of prospective students and assist universities in enhancing student experience.

In this year’s results, UWE Bristol’s scores were above the UK average on 26 of the 27 survey questions. Some 56 programmes achieved a score of 92 per cent or above with 12 achieving 100 per cent: Architecture and Environmental EngineeringArchitecture and PlanningCriminology and SociologyDrawing and PrintEarly ChildhoodGeographyInformation Technology Management for BusinessIntegrated Wildlife ConservationInterior ArchitectureNursing (Children’s)Nursing (Learning Disabilities) and Robotics.

Find out more about UWE Bristol rankings and reputation.

PRO BONO: African Prisons Project – Life-changing experiences

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The Pro Bono Unit at UWE Bristol works with the African Prisons Project. The project sees UWE students assisting prisoners and prison warders during their Law studies. Kathy Brown has previously blogged about the project here.

Earlier this year, funding was achieved to allow a few students to undertake a summer internship in Kenya and Uganda for the APP. Below Kathy Brown reports on their experiences so far:

 Summer in Kenya … or not as the case may be!

On 2nd July I flew to Nairobi with three UWE law students as they ventured to start a ‘summer internship’ with APP.  Kelly, George and Lindsay were the first cohort of volunteers with Rad and Nakita arriving 18th July. Our first impressions after a 90 minute visa queue at midnight is that it’s cold, we are being choked by diesel and we are on a six lane highway heading into the centre of Nairobi!

It’s 4th July before we make our way to our first prison – Kamiti High Security Men’s prison (once notorious for beatings, excessive overcrowding and a prison officers resisted being posted to). 

We are met by a very different experience.  There’s no mistaking the blue and white stripe heavy cotton uniforms with bright yellow nylon sweaters to rage off the ‘winter’ cold but apart from that this prison is open – and inmates move around en masse with no obvious security. 

We are taken to the ‘Academy’ a shabbily constructed and maintained two storey block with partitioned walls to segregate English from Maths classes and History from Biology. 

Upstairs along the rickety iron stairway constructed by the students themselves is the preserve of the law students and others.  We make our introductions, which we have been warned are important and lengthy.  Two hours later it feels joyous and riotous. 

We’ve all been invited to Wilson’s anticipated High Court hearing on the 18th July following his legal challenge of the unconstitutionality of the Kenyan death penalty … watch this space.

Kelly Eastham attended the High Court to hear that Wilson’s death penalty for aggravated burglary 20 years ago is unconstitutional – he will be re-sentenced next week; this highly intellectual and learned undergraduate law student is likely to be released in view of his term served.  Sadly he has no family.  Kelly was his family today and visited him in the holding cell where he was un-cuffed to meet her.  Choking back the tears she offered her support.  Life-changing stuff.

 

 

Give us your feedback on the Bristol Law School

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As part of an exciting new research project, the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School are looking to gather opinions on their new building.

Opened in April 2017, Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School is a flagship space to attract international and home students, facilitate links with businesses, and provide collaborative spaces for staff to work together.

Stride Treglown (the building architects), ISG (building contractors) and Godfrey Syrett (furniture suppliers) and UWE Bristol Business School are collaborating on this research project to explore personal, emotional and sensory user experiences of the building through the use of social media and photography.

They want to hear from staff, students and visitors on how they have used the building.  Over the next year, they are asking everyone to take photos to show how they are using the building and how they feel about the building.

Participants can then post their pictures on Instagram using #myUWEBBSview or you can email your pictures and comments to myUWEBBSview@uwe.ac.uk

The research project is led by Harriet Shortt, Associate Professor in Organisation Studies at UWE Bristol.

Take a look at the project website for more details.

Bar Professional Training Course Qualifying Session Dinner

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On Thursday 7th June, the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) hosted the annual qualifying session Dinner to mark the end of the BPTC calendar.

Guests included The Hon Mr Justice Warby ( a High Court Judge), Vice Treasurer Gray’s Inn, William Clegg QC, Donna Whitehead and a number of other members of the Judiciary, Inns, Local Bar and Faculty staff.

The atmosphere was formal and yet jolly with the students pleased and relieved to have completed their intensive academic program.

Speeches were from Anna Vigars QC (Head of Guildhall Chambers, Bristol) who offered the students inspiring words of wisdom and from David Forster, BPTC student who offered his amusing and inclusive reflections on the BPTC year. Both speakers were very well received by the audience.

Students and some guests continued their celebrations at the after dinner party hosted by the students at the Square Bar.

Pro Bono works: Network For Creative Enterprise

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The second blog in our series on Pro Bono: 

The Business Advice Clinic, one of UWE’s Pro Bono initiative, has been providing legal assistance to the members of the Network for Creative Enterprise over the past academic year. The NFCE is a collaboration between the Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, Knowle West Media Centre, Spike Island, and The Guild based in Bath. UWE is also a partner in the Network. In each of the centres, residents have the opportunity to join the NFCE to receive a mixture of support to turn their ideas into economically sustainable businesses, including free work space and a package of business development support. As part of that support, residents from the hubs are able to make appointments with Business Advice Clinic students, supervised by Marcus Keppel-Palmer, Director of Pro Bono.

Marcus said: “the businesses at NFCE are those working in the creative and cultural arena, often at the very outset of their business life, and so many of the questions are around intellectual property protection, putting together terms and conditions of business, and data protection, although we have been asked about all kinds of matters, including regulations affecting drones!”. Clinics have been held at the Watershed, Spike Island and Knowle West Media Centre with plans to venture over to Bath underway. Each client has a one-hour appointment with students taking instructions, undertaking any research and providing assistance as a follow-up.

One of the students on the team, Lucie Wickens said: “these regular drop-in sessions at Spike Island, Watershed, The Guild and Knowle West Media Centre have provided students with excellent exposure of working with clients, and has assisted in the development of start-up businesses (many of which are UWE graduates) across Bristol and Bath. The work I have undertaken on the Business Advice Clinic, through the Network for Creative Enterprise has been invaluable as a discussion point in interviews, and in building my confidence of working with clients.”

Nearly 20 of the residents have so far taken advantage of the sessions. These residents have reported that the advice and the access to advice has been invaluable. One resident said: “Thank you so much for all the support and advice from you and your team. The conversations and the draft contracts you have drawn up have been an invaluable contribution to our development. Without this free service offered through the Network for Creative Enterprise we would have struggled to access let alone pay for legal advice and support of this kind.”

Rachael Burton, one of the NFCE Producers based at the Pervasive Media Studio, said: “It’s been great to work with Bristol Business and Law School at UWE through the legal advice clinics run by Marcus and his students. Having access to free legal advice in a familiar setting has been really valuable to the artists and small creative businesses we are supporting through Network for Creative Enterprise. We look forward to developing this ongoing relationship.”

 

Pro bono works

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In a series of blog posts Associate Head of Pro Bono, Marcus Keppel-Palmer will be sharing with us why Pro Bono at UWE Bristol works. In this first post Marcus shares research shared at the UWE Learning & Teaching Conference about the similarities between Law students and Journalism students:

Pro Bono gives students an opportunity to develop their professional identity as lawyers, allowing them to develop skills, confidence, ethics and professionalism outside the classroom.  I explored this at the UWE Learning & Teaching Conference jointly with Sally Reardon (UWE Journalism), who also found that journalists form their professional identity away from the gaze and strictures of assessment.

Students come to University with pre-formed views as to what Journalism and Lawyering is, views that are mainly formed by media images, often casting these characters as the hero of the story. Typical depictions of lawyers and lawyering can be found in To Kill A Mockingbird, The Rainmaker, and other John Grisham stories, whilst crusading journalists are depicted in films such as All The Presidents Men and The Post.

However, when they start to study, students are shocked that the reality of study is at odds with these romanticised images. Sally and I argued that students needed to see these professions in the round, creating an individual professional identity, and through that a coherent learning community. Professional Identity is the more than simply ethics and professionalism; it is the way a lawyer understands his or her role relative to all of the stakeholders in the legal system, including clients, courts, opposing parties and counsel, the firm and the legal system or society as a whole. Journalists of course play a valuable role within the courts too, but of course have a wider set of stakeholders and wider social impact to engage with.

In order to develop professional identity, students need opportunities to experience the complex interlay of professional behaviours, skills, ethics, and the relationships, whilst using their doctrinal knowledge. For law students and journalists that often requires participation in extra-curricular activities. Sally spoke about the Global News Relay, an annual event whereby UWE journalists collaborate with students from other countries around the world to compile a snapshot news programme across time zones and continents in one day. I spoke of the professional identity law students forge through participation in various strands of pro bono, such as the welfare benefits advice service, the Business Advice Clinic, and the Bristol Music Advice Service.

To find out more about the pro bono offering at UWE Bristol please see here.

UWE Bristol rated GOLD in Government assessment

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The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has been awarded gold status in the latest Government rankings for higher education providers.

UWE Bristol has been recognised with the highest possible rating in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) 2018. Gold-standard institutions have provision that is consistently outstanding and of the highest quality found in the sector.

Advancing from the silver rating awarded in 2017, the University has been praised by assessors for outstanding graduate employability outcomes and successful approaches to personalised learning.

The framework led by the Office for Students (OfS) measures the performance of all UK universities and higher education providers based on a wide range of factors including graduate employability, National Student Survey (NSS) results and learning environment.

Introduced two years ago to recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching, the TEF has been designed to help students choose where to study by providing clear information about teaching provision and student outcomes.

In its 2018 assessment, UWE Bristol received recognition for:

* Outstanding performance with regard to sustained employment and graduate earnings

* Students from all backgrounds achieving consistently outstanding outcomes

* Student satisfaction with academic support, and the rate of progression to highly skilled employment or further study, being above the University’s benchmarks

* Outstanding learning resources with extensive facilities for lecture capture

* Successful approaches to personalised learning, with effective support arrangements for specific student groups, that secure the highest levels of student engagement with learning.

Overall, the TEF panel of assessors judged that the combination of UWE Bristol’s performance data and its submission met the criteria for a gold award, which is valid for up to three years.

The University is ranked in the top quartile of all higher education providers in the UK and is among only five universities in the South West to hold gold TEF status.

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this gold award. It recognises the importance we place on the student experience and teaching, and how our practice orientated and professionally accredited courses consistently equip our students for graduate level jobs.

“A huge thank you goes to all our staff on what is a very proud day for the University. Their hard work and commitment has made a vital contribution by ensuring students receive the best possible higher education experience.”

The award of a gold rating in the TEF comes one week after UWE Bristol was named in the top 40 of the annual university league table compiled by the Guardian. The University climbed to its highest ever position of 37th out of 121 UK institutions following strong performance in the NSS and an increase in spend per student.

Bristol Law School students bring characters of award winning novel to life in mock murder trial

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On Thursday 24 May and Friday 25 May, students on our Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) acted as counsel for the prosecution and defence in a two-day mock murder trial on Frenchay campus.

The mock trial was based on the plot of the award winning novel Infinite Sky by CJ Flood.

Infinite Sky, a story about a teenage girl trying to come to terms with the abandonment of her mother when a family of gypsies set up an illegal camp in the paddock by her house, contains a violent death. It is this violent death that was explored in the mock trial.

His Honour Judge Johnson, a Circuit Judge who sits at Isleworth Crown Court, presided over the trial and the witnesses were played by a combination of professional actors, together with amateur actors from UWE Bristol’s Drama School, Law School and a local high school.

CJ Flood, the author, also attended the trial to find out the verdict for for the characters she had created. Read her account of the trial on her blog.

The prosecution

Members of the BPTC teaching team acted as ushers, jury bailiffs and court clerks, whilst the jury was made up of students.

The mock trial was open to members of the public as well as staff and students.

After all the witnesses had been cross examined and re-examined, the two day trial culminated in closing speeches from both sides before the jury went out to make their decision. Returning after an hour or so, they found the defendant not guilty of murder.

The trial was an incredible learning experience for our students and gave them the opportunity experience first hand what a real trial would be like.

Thank you to everyone involved who helped bring Infinite Sky to life for the purpose of the trial and a massive thank you to CJ Flood for agreeing to let us host the trial.

 

UWE Bristol climbs into top 40 in latest Guardian league table

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The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has climbed to its highest ever position in the Guardian university league table. Moving up 15 places, the University is ranked 37th out of 121 UK institutions in the newspaper’s latest annual guide for students.

Continued strong performance in the National Student Survey (NSS) and an increase in spend per student have helped the University break into the top 40 in the 2019 guide.

Three subject areas, Education, Film Production & Photography and Philosophy, have been ranked in the top five nationally while Architecture earned a place in the top 10.

UWE Bristol has been ranked 12th in the country for its value-added score, which compares students’ degree results with their entry qualifications to show how effectively they have been taught, and 26th for satisfaction with teaching.

The Guardian league table focuses on the quality of teaching, student satisfaction and employability. Compiled by independent company Intelligent Metrix, the guide ranks universities according to: spending per student; the student/staff ratio; graduate career prospects; what grades applicants need to get a place; the value-added score; and how satisfied final-year students are with their course, based on results from the annual NSS. For the first time this year, the newspaper has included a continuation score based on the percentage of first-year students continuing to a second year. The overall Guardian league table is accompanied by subject rankings, showing how universities perform across 54 areas of study.

It is the third consecutive rise up the Guardian table for UWE Bristol, which has also performed strongly in the Complete University Guide and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol, said:

“This represents a giant stride forwards for our University and it is immensely pleasing to receive recognition for our continued progress in this national guide. Our rise in the table is richly deserved and testament to the tremendous efforts being made by our staff to ensure the student experience is at the centre of everything we do.”

Dr Zainab Khan wins at the Bristol Diversity Awards 2018

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Dr Zainab Khan picked up the award for Positive Role Model (Race / Ethnicity) at the 2nd Bristol Diversity Awards event on Saturday 18th May at the Mercure Holland Hotel & Spa.

Zainab was nominated for her work on the UWE Bristol Equity Programme.

Equity is a positive-action talent development programme aiming to improve BAME graduate outcomes  through identity coaching, enterprise education and large networking events.

It marks a major departure from traditional diversity practice in Higher Education, and has received  positive reception from external observers and city commentators for its innovation. You can find out more about the Equity Programme here

Prior to the event Zainab was interviewed for ITV’s local news to discuss the upcoming awards

Attending the awards were Equity student committee members, Donna Whitehead (Executive Dean & Pro Vice Chancellor), Dr Harriet Shortt (Associate Professor Bristol Business School), Mena Fombo (Motivational Speaker and Equity Programme Coach) and Alex Mormoris, former colleague and key member of the Equity Programme staff.

Congratulations to Zainab and the Equity team on this impressive achievement.