The Student Feedback on the University of Newcastle (SFUN) results have been released! Sophie Jaggers analyses the biggest findings of this year’s results and explains what the SFUN is and why it’s important.
Remember a few months ago when you were asked to complete a student feedback survey for the uni? (You should do – you would have received a minimum of 10 email reminders). Well, the results of this survey, called the SFUN, have now been released, and provide interesting insights into student opinions and feedback concerning our university campuses.
The Student Feedback on the University of Newcastle (SFUN) survey provides an opportunity for students to share their voices and provide feedback concerning the non-academic elements (AKA the FUN things…get it?) of UON, including areas such as social life, safety and security, health and wellbeing, access to food outlets, and transport.
This year only 36% of the student population responded, composed of 9,511 students studying at Callaghan, Sydney, and Central Coast campuses.
So, what did these 9,511 students say about their non-academic campus experiences?
Seven out of 10 are satisfied with their overall campus experience, with 76% happy with their on-campus learning and social spaces.
The top five most important elements for students included a location within a beautiful landscape (we love a bushland campus), access to public transport, ease of parking, proximity to a variety of food and beverage retailers as well as proximity to integrated learning opportunities with industry – factors I think we can all agree are essential to a positive, holistic university experience.
Perhaps one of the greatest achievements the SFUN results highlighted is the increase in awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture around our campuses. Since 2021, there has been an 11% increase in student awareness through Acknowledgement of Country, as well as a 13% increase in awareness through the Wollotuka Institute.
Encouragingly, students are feeling safer on campus than ever before, with 92% of responders reporting that they feel safe on campus, as well as a 10% increase in satisfaction with security staff. However, top security concerns on campus continue to include sexual assault/harassment, insufficient lighting, and theft. Unfortunately, these safety concerns are not unique to UON, and are reflective in the cultures of many Australian universities, as exposed in the National Student Safety Survey into sexual assault and harassment released earlier this year, which revealed that one in six students have been sexually harassed since beginning university. If you ever feel unsafe on campus, contact security on (02) 4921 5888.
Throughout the past few years, the pandemic launched us into the world of online learning, with universities consequently adapting and improving their IT and Digital Learning Technologies. This improvement is reflected in the SFUN results, with 82% of students agreeing that UON provides the digital experience expected of a modern organisation, with 75% overall satisfaction with Digital Learning Technologies such as Canvas, Zoom and Lecture recordings.
Although this year’s survey reflects several achievements in enhancing university facilities and experiences, there is always room (and demand) for further improvement, particularly in the area of food and beverage offerings at university campuses. Only 50% of students were satisfied with Campus food and beverage options, reflecting significant disruptions due to building closures, storm damage, and of course, COVID-19.
The SFUN is essential in shaping changes and improvements on campus, giving the university insight into the student experience. Not only does the SFUN provide students with an opportunity to make their voices heard, but participants also have to opportunity to win a variety of prizes, including tours and experiences, networking opportunities (such as lunch with the Vice Chancellor!) as well as merchandise.
So, next time a survey reminder lands in your inbox, know that it’s well worth making your student voice heard.
To find out more about the 2022 SFUN results, you can view the official document here.
Feature Image by Phoebe Metcalfe, Yak Media Designer