The Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster has recorded an outstanding performance in the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS), with two of its undergraduate courses achieving 100% overall satisfaction.

It is an impressive performance from the department. The Politics BA and International Relations and Development BA are now recognised nationally as top performers in the field of political and international studies. The International Relations and Development BA achieved this feat for a second year in a row, something that is rare in the UK higher education sector.

Building on its success from the 2015 NSS, the department is pleased to report that it has improved its national performance in key areas of student support, assessment and feedback, and overall student satisfaction. The two other degrees within the Politics and International Relations undergraduate portfolio have also demonstrated significant improvement in the 2016 NSS. The International Relations BA and Politics and International Relations BA also secured well above sector scores of 95% and 93% respectively. Professor Dibyesh Anand, the Head of Department, said: “we dedicate this success to the hard work put in by our colleagues, especially those who manage the courses, and to our students who have recognised our efforts and acted as partners rather than consumers when it comes to improving our collective experience of education”.

Dr Thomas Moore, who has been course leader for both the International Relations BA and Politics BA, affirms: “It has been a real pleasure working alongside students and colleagues this year to achieve such strong results in the 2016 NSS. We are especially pleased to see a massive improvement in the overall satisfaction for final-year students taking the Politics BA. As a department and Faculty we are committed to ensuring that our student community is intellectually enriching and as dynamic as possible. Whether it is our career events or our legendary Christmas pizza party, we will continue to work hard to build a sense of belonging for students. As a Politics and International Relations team we are thankful for the vote of confidence from all our students. We are already working hard to plan events and create exciting new opportunities for the next academic year – watch this space.”

Dr Farhang Morady, who leads the Politics and International Relations BA as well as the Development Studies BA and International Relations BA, ascribed the success to a collective ethos where education is seen as an ongoing process rather than a product and is part and parcel of our wider socio-political life. “We have to constantly innovate and be proactive in supporting students who come from diverse local, regional and international backgrounds. We have to provide time and be patient when listening and responding to students.” Dr Morady, along with other colleagues, was also recognised by the students earlier in the year through the Student Union Staff Appreciation Awards scheme.

The department has 30 permanent academic staff who are active in research and teaching, and hosts the world-renowned Centre for the Study of Democracy. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students are actively involved in the research culture of the department. In the last Research Excellence Framework exercise, it was recognised as one of the top improvers and the Centre for the Study of Democracy celebrated its 25th anniversary with a major international conference that provided an opportunity for students to interact with world-leading intellectuals.

Professor Anand says: “We are proud to be part of a University that is the most diverse in the UK and one of the top hundred most international institutions in the world. We take our success in the NSS 2016 as a validation of what we have been doing but we won’t be complacent. We want to make the coming academic year even more dynamic, lively and exciting for students and for ourselves.”

Image: Teacher Dr Farhang Morady, middle, with students.

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