Chelsea Samantha

Key insights on Student Satisfaction  


The Global Student Satisfaction awards are the only student-powered global university overview capturing feedback on life inside and outside the classroom. Students have spoken – in over 108 000 reviews, across 4000 institutions. Now it’s time for the Higher Education Sector to listen, and to discuss the best-practice approaches for a leading student experience 

Last week some of the university winners of the Global Students Satisfaction Awards 2021 spoke to Studyportals about the key drivers of student satisfaction and actionable insights for improving student centricityHere are five key insights from the webinar in case you missed it: 

  1. Treat students as co-investors  

Prof. Lorenzo CantoniPro-Rector for education and students’ experience, at Università della Svizzera italiana says he doesn’t like the common practice of thinking of students as clients 

When clients buy something, the goal is to buy at the lowest possible price the highest possible object. If you’re a student and you see yourself as a client, it means that you’re looking at the diploma without studying. 

Instead, Prof Cantoni sees students as co-investors in their education.  

I always tell students from the very beginning that they are investors. They are investing their time, their passions, and their talents, and us and professors are investing our time to help them grow and find reasonable, if not exciting jobs. 

2. See student experience as part of the learning process  

Università della Svizzera italiana was the best University for Quality of Life. Prof Cantoni stresses that a positive learning environment is integral to the learning process. 

“If you are happy and relaxed, what you do is likely to become more memorable. In the end, we learn more. In that sense, student satisfaction is not a side product. If we think about our lives – there’s a period in which we learn the most. We learn a new language and how the world is organized during the period in which we just play. 

Being perceived as a place where you can have a high-quality training through memorable experiences is a plus for us which is very important”.  

3. Foster diverse interactions 

One of the reasons the students like us is that the student body is incredibly diverse.”, says David Dixon, Academic Director of the University of Essex. 

When you join one of the programmes you’ll mix with international students from around the world with different professional and cultural backgrounds. It would be insane for us to not take advantage of that and allow students to learn from one another, so that student interaction and learning community is absolutely central within our pedagogy.” 

4. Listen to students and engage authentically 

Martin Hookham-Simms is Head of the International Office at the University of Sussex. He stresses that authenticity is key for engaging with students. “We have International student ambassador programs. We also have a connectors program – which is particularly trying to get the student voice into the development of a whole range of different services at the university. For us I think one of the things you’ve gotta do with these kinds of projects is be authentic. 

If you are going to ask the students for feedback you do actually need to take them on board and take action. It’s not listening for listening’s sake. We really do try to strive to implement recommendations that come from students. But also be prepared to tell students that not everything is possible.”  

5. Understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution  

Kühne Logistics University won the Overall Satisfaction category Professor Thomas Strothotte, President of Kühne Logistics University says, “I’ve been a Dean for 15 years in three different universities and I could report one of my biggest mistakes, which is the thought that one size fits all. This is wrong for just about everything that you can think of. Even if you see something good at another place it doesn’t mean that copying this will lead to success. A serious amount of thinking has to go into what the best practices mean for your institution, its culture, and the kinds of students it has”.  

The Global Student Satisfaction Awards are based on 108 000 student reviews from across the world. Read more the Global Student Satisfaction Awards here. You can also download the Global Student Satisfaction Report here.  

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