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Praise for the Sports Centre, criticism for the university restaurants and feedback

Praise for the Sports Centre, criticism for the university restaurants and feedback

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

UM Student Monitor 2015-2016

MAASTRICHT. The new UM Sports Centre, officially opened in April, is very popular among Maastricht students. No less than 92 per cent is pleased with the sports facilities, shows the latest UM Student Monitor, which was distributed in April and May. Students are more critical about the price-quality ratio of the university restaurants, just as they are with the test results, which should be available more quickly. Besides that, students want better feedback from their lecturers.

“Feedback is not good: it is not critical and often unclear and ambiguous,” was the comment from a Psychology student in the open text part of the survey. There was also criticism from the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences: “Most of the time we can only see pass/fail on MyUM to see how well we did. The university claims to aim at improving our independent thinking and reasoning, but how can we improve our assignments/academic work if we never get feedback on it?” Almost half of the respondents are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied about the way in which results of tests or papers are commented.

The latest UM Student Monitor survey was completed by 1,710 students (11.5 per cent). This is a very small group, but slightly bigger than in the 2014-2015 academic year, when only 8.4 per cent took the trouble to return it. The UM distributes the survey annually to monitor student satisfaction. What do they think about the registration procedures for studies, blocks and exams? Is the supply of information up to scratch, about such things as career perspectives or master’s programmes, for example? And what do they think about the signposting inside buildings, the number of bicycle sheds, and the quality of the university restaurants?

To start with the latter: university catering company Albron has adapted a few things in the past few years, both in their selection of products and the interior design. But students and employees continue to complain about the food and the prices. In the Student Monitor, 52 per cent is not happy with the price-quality ratio (of which 20 per cent is even very dissatisfied). The selection is poor too, said 28 per cent. Students from the School of Business and Economics are the most critical. A selection from the comments: “Often everything is gone by 16:00 hrs. What they have, is often too expensive for the quality.” “The university restaurant is moving with the trends, but as a result prices are also rising steeply. Instead of 'trendy' food and salads, I would prefer if they provided good inexpensive food. The hot meal is terrible.”

The supply of information can also be improved. Keuzegids 2017, which represents the views of students and experts, concluded the same. Communication is a major issue at this university as it is too impersonal. (…) UM should see its students more like an integral part of the university itself and not as the public or some customers,” wrote a student from the School of Business and Economics. Students want better and clearer information about graduating, as well as about exemptions. But most of the 55 per cent who are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, are annoyed by the scanty information given about blocks that are not part of the regular study programme, such as minors and elective courses at other faculties or universities. “This is not stimulated at all by the university. It seems as if they want to keep everyone here and offer as few options as possible for going abroad or to another university.” And: “They are really very difficult about doing a minor at another faculty!”

Almost one third of the respondents are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied about the publication of timetables. This is particularly an issue at FASoS, Psychology and FHML. “Sometimes it is quite late, or it does not contain all the information, making it impossible to plan ahead.”

Nevertheless, many students are positive: about the UM Sports Centre, Studium Generale’s programme, the lecture halls and the tutorial groups, the way in which timetables and exam schedules are published, toilet facilities in buildings, the front office service in the Student Services Centre and the faculties, and the registration procedure for courses and blocks.

The survey results were sent to the faculties during the summer, and the Executive Board has asked the directors and deans to draw up a list of actions “that you have decided to take in order to implement improvements”.

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