"Lecture and seminar class sizes are small so the lecturers know us all by name."

Degrees in Cornwall

The National Student Survey

Each spring third-year university students across the country take part in the National Student Survey (NSS), an opportunity to voice opinions about the university they’ve studied at. The NSS is taken very seriously by universities and is a key part of the higher education league tables we’re all so interested in.

The NSS asks 22 questions about the quality of teaching, academic support, management of courses, learning resources and personal development opportunities on offer. The results paint a clear picture of how much students value the education and experience they receive at university. The process is anonymous and managed by the independent National Student Survey organisation; we only see the results.

The 2012 final-year History students at University of Exeter in Cornwall rated their programme outstandingly well in the NSS, and were especially complimentary about the quality of academic staff. 80% of final-year students on the programme responded, and all of them said they were satisfied with the quality of their course.

In addition, we had 100% agreement with the following statements:

  • “Staff are good at explaining things”
  • “Staff have made the subject interesting”
  • “Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching”
  • “The course is intellectually stimulating”
  • “Good advice was available when I needed to make study choices”

97% of those responding agreed with the following:

  • “I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies”
  • “Any changes in the course have been communicated effectively”
  • “My communication skills have improved”

We’re delighted with these results, which offer unequivocal evidence of the quality of teaching we offer in Cornwall.

What students say about studying History in Cornwall

The NSS also gives students the opportunity to make their own comments about their course. Comments made by History students in Cornwall emphasized the approachability of academic staff, and how well supported students felt:

  • “I would just like to emphasise how the staff on the Cornwall Campus History Department are approachable, friendly, enthusiastic and helpful, making it a really good environment to study in.”
  • “‘Lecture and seminar class sizes are small so the lecturers know us all by name.”
  • “I liked the intimate nature of the department. Staff know student names and there is always an opportunity to go and discuss problems and queries with the relevant lecturers. My dissertation tutor was particularly helpful and her door was always open.”

Clear evidence that studying History at the University of Exeter in Cornwall is a fantastic idea!

Small is beautiful on the Cornwall Campus

For 2012 and 2011 we have been able to disaggregate the NSS results for the Cornwall Campus from Exeter as a whole, and the results are a very vigorous demonstration that small is beautiful. In effect, the Cornwall Campus returned the best NSS results of any of the prestigious Russell and 94 groups of universities. We had the best average scores for the 22 questions. In 2011, we had the best result in 16 of the 22 questions. In 2012, we had the best results in 9 and top 3 positions in a further 5. The result that gives us most satisfaction is our position in the top 3 in answers to the following question:

“The course is intellectually stimulating”

Oxford and Cambridge are the other universities in the top 3. This offers a key insight into the way that disciplines work on the Cornwall Campus. We exploit the advantages of small scale. We can support, extend and drive our students; we know them enough to recognise how to accelerate their intellectual development. In an age of mass higher education, the individual touch and personal awareness are central to the Cornwall disciplines. Our students know these strengths and the NSS scores are a powerful recognition of a unique educational experience.