University of East Anglia earns top ranking in UK-wide Student Experience Survey
Thu, 25 Apr 2013
The University of East Anglia has today been named as the best place in the UK to be a student.
Ranked first in the Student Experience Survey 2013, UEA has long been recognised for its commitment to ensuring a powerful academic, social and cultural experience for all who study there.
The survey is published today in the Times Higher Education magazine. Students across the UK rated their institutions in 21 categories - from teaching quality to social life and accommodation. UEA - with its close-knit campus community and small group teaching - rated highly across the board and has risen from sixth overall in 2012 to take the top position in this, its 50th anniversary year.
"Our commitment to providing a gold-plated student experience is long-standing and ingrained," said Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Nigel Norris, who has overall responsibility for student experience at UEA.
"It began long before the concept became central to universities up and down the land, and has been rewarded by a consistent top 10 ranking in the National Student Survey.
"This latest endorsement has been made possible only by the hard work and creativity of our academics, support staff and, of course, the students themselves who never cease to inspire us."
Located at the heart of the thriving Norwich Research Park (NRP), UEA has invested not only in excellent research but in quality, small group teaching - reducing the staff-student ratio significantly over recent years. Each student is focused on as an individual and develops their knowledge, skills and employability within a cutting edge research-rich environment.
Matthew Myles, communications officer at the Union of UEA Students, welcomed the news: "It's not surprising that undergraduates love it at UEA. The university is set in beautiful Norwich, and students can enjoy some of the best gigs in the country as well as choosing from over 200 clubs or societies. The student experience is consistently great here at UEA, not just academically but also with all of the other activities that are available here."
The survey categories in which the university scored particularly well include: high quality facilities; good accommodation; high quality staff lectures; good social life; good environment on campus and around university; and good sports facilities.
The university listens and responds to changing student needs - opening its Library 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for example. This has made life easier for overseas students and those with family responsibilities and is a highly visible demonstration of the university's commitment to its students. It has also invested significantly in preparing students for life after graduation, offering internships, mentoring, volunteering, part-time work, and support for student enterprise.
UEA pioneered teaching in small groups in the 1960s to ensure students had meaningful contact with academics. The university's new Chancellor, award-winning novelist Rose Tremain, studied English as an undergraduate at UEA from 1964-67 - the university's second ever intake - and returned to teach on its famous Creative Writing MA from 1989-95.
She said: "Students need to feel cared for, socially, culturally and above all, intellectually. In the 1960s, when UEA was a tiny 'village', we were given this care and we went out into the world of work with ambition and confidence. Now, UEA is a thriving 'metropolis', offering cultural and sporting facilities that we never dreamed of back then. But throughout its fifty years of expansion the university has never lost sight of its paramount commitment to intellectual excellence, and I'm delighted - but not in the least surprised - that it has found the Number 1 spot in the Student Experience Survey."
The University of East Anglia is set in 200 hectares of attractive natural landscape in the historic and culturally vibrant city of Norwich. The university has a close partnership with the city and students benefit significantly from this relationship - for example through the UNESCO City of Literature project and the Norwich Research Park, which recently received a £26m investment from government. A high proportion (55 per cent) of home/EU students remain in the region after graduating.
The social, cultural and sporting experience on campus is also second to none. The Student Union attracts some of the biggest acts on the circuit - recently including Coldplay, The Killers, The Streets, Ed Sheeran and Primal Scream. The landmark Norman Foster-designed Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts houses the collection of Robert and Lisa Sainsbury and will feature works by Constable and Gainsborough in its 'Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia' exhibition this autumn. And the £26 million Sportspark is one of the most extensive state-of-the-art university sports facilities in the UK.