Recently, the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) sent an open letter to the University of Glasgow Senior Management Group (SMG) highlighting a list of urgent concerns over the increased numbers of students on campus.
In their letter the SRC pointed out that the University has accepted 1,200 more students than the previous year, and expressed their concern that the student experience has been “dangerously side-lined”. They wrote: “Student satisfaction informs league tables, and thus the University’s reputation and ranking. We know that student satisfaction will drop as a result of the over recruitment and hope that you seriously consider making both short and long term changes to improve the experience for all the 28,000 students we now have.”
The letter also addressed the fact that there have been no extra resources or spaces allocated to the Counselling and Psychological Service or Disability Service to compensate for the increase in demand, and expressed concerns for the welfare of students and staff. The SRC wrote: “Considering the University prides itself on offering high quality research-led teaching and supervision, we may ask ourselves who is going to supervise 1,000 extra PGT students from April onwards? You cannot expect staff to cope with this dramatic increase without recruiting and reallocating resources”.
The SRC’s letter also highlighted the fact that some students will have more evening and weekend exams over a shorter period of time as a result of over recruitment, and requested that the SMG give serious consideration to planning the spring exam timetable for the sake of students’ mental health.
The SRC also requested an increase in the number of study spaces available to students, stating that despite the current development of the Learning and Teaching Hub, the library is at capacity and students require an “immediate solution”.
Principal Anton Muscatelli, who responded on behalf of the Senior Management Group, said, “We are, of course, determined to maintain and improve the University’s high standing in satisfaction surveys and league tables but our overriding concern is to ensure that students across all programmes of study have a high quality experience, both inside and outside the classroom”.
The Principal composed a list of responses to each of the points in the SRC’s letter, promising to invest an additional £200,000 in the Counselling and Psychological Services, up to £2m in the refurbishment of the teaching and study spaces across campus and to test a 24-hour opening of the University Library during the December exam period, while increasing the number of teaching areas that are equipped with digital recording technology until it is offered to all lecture theatres.