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'Rising star' UEL is UK’s biggest climber in last decade in Times Higher Education survey

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No other university can match UEL's improvement in the quality of its student experience

The University of East London (UEL) has been hailed as the most improved university in the UK over the past decade for the quality of it student experience, according to an influential survey.

The Times Higher Education (THE) Student Experience Survey examined the statistics of universities across the country from 2009 to the present day and found that UEL had made more progress than any other institution.

Under the headline ‘The rising stars of higher education’, the publication said UEL had jumped almost 15 points in its indexed scoring system, which was “several points higher than any other university”.

The 2018 survey, which was published on March 22, was conducted among more than 20,000 undergraduates across the country.

The students were asked the same set of questions that have been posed since 2005 about aspects of university life such as academic experience, facilities, community atmosphere, societies and security.

For the first time, THE also published three-year rolling average data, starting with the years 2009 to 2011, to show the biggest risers and fallers during the past decade. 

UEL emerged as the most improved institution thanks to a jump in scores across the whole spectrum of categories.

It recorded the largest rise in three-year average index scores of any other university for: personal requirements catered for; good environment on campus; good societies; good community atmosphere; good social life; high-quality facilities; well-structured courses; helpful/interested staff; and high-quality staff. 

Of these, the rating for sports facilities scored the largest leap of all – thanks to the opening of the SportsDock complex on Docklands campus in 2012.

Annette Cast, UEL’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, said: “To be singled out as the UK’s most improved university by the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey is a wonderful accolade and a just reward for the dedication and professionalism of our academic and support staff.

“It also shows the substantial investments we have made over the past decade in our facilities and academic programmes are bearing fruit.

“Our SportsDock complex is a shining example of this investment, where we have gone from having virtually no sports facilities at all before 2012 to having one of the best university sports centres in the country. 

“But what is most satisfying is that we have scored huge improvements right across the board, ranging from academic experience to community atmosphere and student societies.

“This confirms the positive progress we are making across a range of measures, shown by our rise of 79 places in the National Student Survey table over the last two years.”

The 2018 THE survey has also seen UEL climb 16 places in the overall table compared to 2017. It is now the top-ranked modern university in London.

Breaking down the survey into categories, UEL is first among modern universities in London for academic experience, student welfare, accommodation, industry connections and facilities.

It is ranked fourth across all higher education institutions in the capital for academic experience and facilities.