Feb 27, 2020

Sharp Drop-Off in Student Satisfaction With Experience of Trinity

A recent survey found that 17 per cent of Trinity students would probably or definitely pick a different college if they were choosing again.

Robert QuinnAssistant News Editor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

Student satisfaction with Trinity has fallen sharply in recent years, a survey has shown, with 37.5 per cent more students than in 2016 admitting they would pick a different college if they were choosing again.

Figures presented to the Undergraduate Studies Committee in November showed that 17.6 per cent of students would either probably or definitely pick a different college if they were making the decision again – up from 12.8 per cent in 2016.

The figures, gathered as part of the national Student Survey, will likely represent an alarming finding for the College, which has frequently come under fire in recent times over the implementation of the Trinity Education Project.


In an email statement to The University Times, Dean of Students Kevin O’Kelly said the figures are a “concern” for Trinity and that the College is “working to identify and address any issues within our control”. He said that the increase could partly be attributed to the “challenges of living in Dublin city centre”.

O’Kelly wrote that figures from other Dublin city institutions, such as Technological University Dublin and Institute of Technology Tallaght, showed similarly significant increases in student dissatisfaction – although “not to the same extent as Trinity”.

O’Kelly said: “At first glance, availability of accommodation in Dublin appears to be a common factor for the institutions where the responses were high.”

Other factors that were cited as reasons why a student had a desire to leave their university or change course, included “financial reasons, personal circumstances, or employment opportunities”.

However, O’Kelly acknowledged that the College “must work with students to identify solutions” and “capture the issues underpinning the responses”.

“Some of the reasons may be school or programme based and staff-student meetings should explore these. Some of the reasons may relate to the broader student experience and the Undergraduate Studies Committee and the Student Life Committee are looking into this.”

Minutes from the committee meeting stated the postgraduate response was “particularly high” to this question.

The minutes also said that the O’Kelly had identified “student-faculty interaction, quality of interactions and supportive environment indices” as areas where “Trinity should do better”.

The price of student accommodation came under major scrutiny last summer after The University Times revealed that over 90 per cent of purpose-built student accommodation developed in Dublin since 2016 costs €840 or more.

The University Times also revealed that the College is putting postgraduate students at the forefront of its strategic plan, with a focus on “enhancing” their experience and committing to “fundamentally re-evaluate and renew our approach to structures, programmes and the pedagogy of our postgraduate taught courses”.

The number of postgraduate students will increase to 32 per cent of College’s student profile, and a “major and systemic renewal of all aspects of doctoral education” will take place.

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