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Studyportals GSSA winners revealed at NAFSA

Six universities were recognised in the Studyportals Global Student Satisfaction Awards, presented for the first time at NAFSA in a ceremony at the United States Institute of Peace, in Washington DC.

Guests gather for the awards night at the US Institute of Peace. Photo: The PIE News

The Overall Satisfaction winner was Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden

Based on 25,000 reviews from enrolled students or fresh alumni – with a graduation date not earlier than 1 June 2016 – the awards encompassed six categories.

Three regional finalists (APAC, EMEA, Americas) were selected for each category, and then six global winners were crowned on the night.

The Overall Satisfaction winner was Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

“A lot of decision making is still based on rankings…the student perspective should at least be equally valued”

Kühne Logistics University, Germany, scooped the Quality of Student Life award, the University of Tartu in Estonia won the Admission Process award, while the Student-Teacher Interaction award was taken by the University of Cambridge in the UK.

The Career Development award went to Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey, while the Student Diversity Award to the University of Auckland.

“It’s a very meaningful award for us because obviously in Auckland we are reaching a stage where 40% of residents were born in a different country… and that diversity is now being reflected increasingly in the university,” Shane Ball, international marketing manager at the  University of Auckland, told The PIE News.

“For us, it’s a real thrill to be acknowledged for the work that we are doing increasing diversity for students coming into the university.”

Studyportals CEO and co-founder told The PIE that the awards stemmed from a decision to elevate the student voice to the same importance rankings have in students’ decision making.

“We felt the student voice was missing. We are trying to recognise quality from the student perspective. A lot of decision making is still based on rankings – that’s a very valuable tool, but the student perspective should at least be equally valued, we think,” he explained.

“We really want to create transparency both for education choice and also to improve education itself: by rewarding the universities that are doing really well, encouraging others to do the same, and therefore lifting the quality of education.”

In 2018 the “Reviews product” was rolled out on the Studyportals platform, offering this relevant information on students’ opinion to the platform’s users, Andrés Proaño Revelo told The PIE.

“With the launch of the Global Student Satisfaction Awards this year, we want to encourage universities to participate and encourage their student body to share that information, contributing to the transparency of study choice and to the quality of education worldwide,” he said.

Data as crowdsourced user-generated content in the form of student reviews produces very interesting insights, Revelo added.

“As we look into student satisfaction around the world, we can pinpoint how different regions consider what is important for them, in terms of quality in different categories.”

“It’s a real thrill to be acknowledged for the work that we are doing increasing diversity for students”

Only universities with English-taught courses hosted in Studyportals’ websites were able to enter the awards and needed at least 10 reviews to participate – with the exception of the Overall Satisfaction category, which required at least 30 reviews.

Students had the possibility to rate their universities on a scale from one to five.

Reviews were collected with the help of Studyportals’ community and international student organisations such as ESN, with checks are in place to identify false reviews.

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