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Feedback

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As part of its aim to continually enhance postgraduate research student experience at King’s, the Centre for Doctoral Studies participates in the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES). Sent to research students once every two yearts, this survey allows us to collect valuable feedback from doctoral students on their experience of life at King's.

PRES: Making PGR students heard

PRES is a national online survey run every two years by the Higher Education Academy in conjunction with individual higher education institutions. The survey is designed to provide participating institutions with feedback on:  

  • What postgraduate research students consider the most important factors in determining their satisfaction with their educational experience
  • PGR students' actual levels of satisfaction
  • Benchmarking data against comparable institutions.

PRES 2019 is current running at King's College London from the 18th of March - 17th May. If you are a current Postgraduate Researcher at King's and you wish to take part, please click here to go to our internal website

PRES 2017

High levels of overall satisfaction

The headline results from PRES 2017 were highly positive, showing that 81% of students were satisfied overall with the experience of their research degree at King's, with 85% of students confident of completing their PhD within their expected timescale. 

PRES 2017 also provided very positive results on PhD supervision at King's: 91% of students that completed the survey felt their supervisor had the skills and subject knowledge to support their research. 

Professional Development

In response to feedback from previous Postgraduate Research Experience Surveys, and the changing landscape of postgraduate research across the sector, King's has made significant efforts to improve its professional offering for PGR students. 

This is reflected in PRES 2017 results, with 85% of survey respondents reporting improvements in their ability to manage projects and have increasingly managed their own professional development during their programme. 

As in previous years, King's will be using PRES results to continually evaluate and improve its PGR student experience. Projects that have emerged since PRES 2017 include: 

  • Establishing the PGR Student Wellbeing Working Group 
  • Improved online careers support and advice, including our new "Advancing in Academia" webinar series
  • Improved student communications and engagement: creation of a dedicated PGR Student Experience Coordinator role

For further information on the results of PRES 2017, please contact the Centre for Doctoral Studies: doctoralstudies@kcl.ac.uk

PRES 2015

High levels of satisfaction

PRES 2015 had a 54% response rate, a considerable improvement upon previous years.

The headline results of this survey showed that 81% of PGR students at King’s felt their experience met or exceeded their expectations. This figure is broadly similar to the results of the PRES 2013 survey.

Since supervision is at the heart of the doctoral experience, it was also very pleasing to note that 92% of doctoral students thought their supervisor had the necessary skills and knowledge to support their research. Students also recorded above average satisfaction with how to identify training and development needs, understanding requirements and deadlines, assessment procedures, awareness of supervisory responsibilities, understanding research integrity and confidence of completing on time.

Progress

Since 2013, there have been improvements in levels of satisfaction with: workspace, library resources, access to specialist resources, opportunities to engage with the research community outside your department, induction, understanding of research integrity, agreeing a personal development plan, training to develop research skills, training to develop transferable skills, careers advice, opportunities to deliver conference papers and opportunities to publish.

Issues to address

Issues raised in this survey related to access to workspace, computing facilities, access to specialist resources, departmental seminar programmes, and Faculty and departmental research atmosphere.

Following the survey, the Centre for Doctoral Studies produced thematic reports on workspace, IT and libraries and also circulated the data to faculties for their consideration and action planning.

At a university level, your feedback has allowed us to deliver two new postgraduate research (PGR) workrooms on the Strand for Arts and Humanities and SSPP, and also to launch the new Centre for Doctoral Studies initiative that offers £10k of funding for student-led research societies. Postgraduate researchers are also fully involved in the discussions around how the new space in Bush House will be configured when academic departments move there.

You can read a summary of actions taken by the Centre for Doctoral Studies.

At a local level, each faculty has produced an Action Plan and a summary of these can be found here.

PRES 2013

Overall satisfaction

81% of our doctoral students told us they were satisfied with their experience at King’s, particularly with all aspects of doctoral supervision. This emphasises the exceptional and valued educational experience at King’s for doctoral students, as supervision is at the core of the research student experience.

Other issues and improvements

Headline figures from PRES 2013 indicated two areas of focus for improvement: facilities (workspace, libraries, and IT spaces) and career development.

In response, King's is now providing more workspace for Arts & Humanities doctoral students in the new Virginia Woolf building on Kingsway.

After discussions with the Director of Library Services we have expanded and improved the workspace available to doctoral students in the Maughan library. Additionally, comments in the 2008 PRES survey led to the establishment of a Centre for Doctoral Studies Conference Attendance Fund.

The amount of money allocated to this has been increased each year since then so that more applicants can benefit from partial funding to deliver papers at high profile events.

King's has also invested in better workspace for doctoral students on the Strand, for example on the 6th floor of the King’s building (Geography), 8th floor of the Strand Building (Arts & Humanities) and the 7th floor of the Strand building (Physics).

Further feedback

Any suggestions to help us improve facilities or the experience for a research student are always welcome. Please contact doctoralstudies@kcl.ac.uk with your comments.


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