For the last three years, NUSU has hired a Research Intern to lead on the writing of our TEAs Reports. These are the reports that provide an insight into the teaching methods and approciates that students at Newcastle really value, and so it's crucial that the research into this topic is led by students, too.
Working as our Research Intern this year is Prothoma Masudur (MPharm Pharmacy). In the first of a series of blogs, Prothoma explains what appealed to her about the Research Intern role, what her expectations were before starting and what has emerged from the data so far. Be sure to check back over the coming weeks to see what else she finds!
Prothoma Masudur (NUSU Research Intern 2019).
“As an MPharm student who is nearing the end of her academic journey, I have had a few years to recognise, appreciate and marvel at how some lecturers, pastoral staff and administrators on and off-campus can truly enrich the university experience. I have lecturers whose lectures I just couldn’t justify not attending because of the pure passion and enthusiasm they would put into their delivery. I have also found that, in times of desperation when needing a shoulder to cry on or wanting someone to vent to, I knew exactly who my go-to person was. My time at university continues to be shaped by having empathetic, dependable and selfless lecturers that I could turn to whether I was stressed about an assignment or didn’t understand a maths question on a weekend before a numeracy exam. Of course, everyone needs a support system when deadlines are creeping up and MacBooks are crashing, but I know that the things I would run to someone for help for were different to what my friends would commend a lecturer for. The role of NUSU Research Intern is a perfect opportunity to see what Newcastle University students think makes for someone deserving of a TEA.
During my third day of this internship, I am working on coding more than 400 entries of people’s personal experience with their academic staff. Between short entries about awesome lecturers and long entries with bullet points and all caps descriptions of staff offering up their spare time to have a conversation about someone having a bad day, it is clear that students are just as appreciative of their lecturers as the lecturers are invested in their students’ wellbeing and success.
So far the coding has been super interesting because despite how different the Faculties are that the entries are coming from, general themes appear to be quite similar! I anticipated that there would be lots of very specific entries that some might not be able to relate to. However, Medics appreciating how their lecturers hold extra clinical skills session after hours and lecturers at the School of Mathematics arranging 1:1 sessions for those who missed a lecture on Topics in Analysis just means that lecturers across Faculties are dedicating their time to teaching beyond what is expected of them. Having no coherent themes would have made it quite challenging to write up a report meant to identify them, but thankfully that is not an issue so far.
For the first time since holding the TEAs in 2011, we have anonymised data on the student who made the entries. My next aim is to get stuck on the massive 433 x 11 column Excel spreadsheet waiting to be analysed. Since Newcastle has two campuses in the UK, as well as one in Malaysia and one in Singapore there is lots of potential to see how that affects what students look for in a nomination worthy candidate!
But more on that in the next update…”