James Breakell is UK Managing Director of D-Tech International
The Student Experience Survey (2016), conducted by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE), showed that nearly two-thirds of students listed the quality of a university’s facilities as being vital to their university choice.
The findings of this research have put to bed the myths about student culture in the UK. Young people are not making decisions based on the uni nightlife or price of beer, neither are they following their friends’ university options. In fact, aspiring undergraduates are more concerned with the further education qualities and facilities provided by a university to support them on their journey.
With strong competition for graduate positions allied with soaring university fees, students are allocating more and more time to their studies, with libraries being the most-used facility for 66% of students. IT facilities took second place at 51%. Not only are library facilities playing a crucial role in the decision-making process for potential students, but they also have a big impact on current students and those considering a master’s degree. Library spaces and facilities should be updated and improved throughout a student’s time at university for them to enhance their skills and develop academically – ultimately preparing them for work in this modern era. Library and IT facilities will certainly contribute to the university experience and affect the student satisfaction scores taken at the end of their degree. Fifty-nine per cent of students who took part in the most recent student experience survey said they would like more money spent on their educational institution to improve the facilities.
According to The Society of College, National and University Libraries, support from libraries and IT services are vital in helping international students adapt to a new culture, writing style and language. The availability of support and appropriate facilities is likely to have a significant influence on their grade and whether they even complete their chosen degree course.
“We understand the demands on university libraries and want to support you in your quest for the best services you can provide for your students, ultimately improving your organisation’s rankings.”
AUDE Chair Trevor Humphreys, Director of Estates and Facilities, at the University of Surrey commented: “The data shows that students place a strong emphasis on learning facilities more so than social space, but we know that the quality and adequate supply of both are very important to today’s student. Choosing the right university is a big step for many young adults, and the survey again shows that higher education facilities play an important part in their decision.’’
Despite funding cuts, library and IT facilities have improved year-on-year, with 83% of students now saying their university facilities are either ‘excellent’ or ‘good.’ But with one in 10 students dropping out of university in their first year, it is vital that universities do their utmost to support rapidly changing consumer demands and provide students with the very best in library technology and educational facilities.
Here at D-Tech, we continue to develop innovative solutions to enhance the student experience as well as maximise resources. Our technology allows staff to support students by being accessible and not stuck behind a desk dealing with returns and checking out. State-of-the-art security equipment doesn’t just save money through reduction in losses; it also helps staff to locate items that have been removed from shelves but are not being used, or hidden for easy access by students, allowing resources to be diverted from purchasing unnecessary copies of books.
We understand the demands on university libraries and want to support you in your quest for the best services you can provide for your students, ultimately improving your organisation’s rankings.