We were fortunate enough to be selected by the Careers Service to run a 100hrs student placement project. Its aim is to look at ways of improving student collaboration, particularly with Process/Continuous Improvement Projects. We wanted to know how the Unit can better engage with students when improving processes that directly affect or involve them and the most effective ways to feedback to students on any changes and improvements that are implemented.
Students play a critical part in enhancing and improving the service The University provides through their participation, evaluation and feedback. Currently, we often struggle to obtain a reliable sample of representative feedback, making it difficult for us to get the students’ (customers’) perspective. Listening to the ‘voice of the customer’ is fundamental to our process improvement projects and to designing a process that delivers value to the customer, so we felt that this was an area we needed to look into.
Our student, Anna, started with us last month and has already done a great deal of work! We are very time limited as we are approaching the end of term so were conscious that we needed to get all the student-based data gathering completed sooner rather than later. With this in mind, Anna started to identify students who could be invited to attend a focus group, ensuring representation from across the different faculties, with the help of the departments. Running the focus group proved to be an extremely valuable exercise, and the group came up with many reasons why students do not engage with giving feedback when requested, and 18 different ideas for how we might encourage greater participation in feedback. Following the focus group, Anna designed a questionnaire to put some of the ideas generated to a wider sample of students, and to gather further information about the possible reasons students might not participate. She has kept it short and simple with focussed questions, in-line with the focus group outputs.
Following the collection and analysis of the data, Anna will be creating some ‘customer personae’, with the help of the outputs from the more detailed student interviews that are underway. We hope that these will help us and our project teams to better empathise with and understand our students. Thinking about the needs and feelings of a fictional persona, helps to understand what a real person values and requires from a process, ensuring we design a process with the student (customer) in mind. We also hope to identify areas where the feedback loop could be improved.