Calling all economics students, your department still doesn’t listen

It is that time of the year when 3rd years receive emails from their departments to tell them to fill in the NSS survey. The NSS helps the university to get an idea of the delight or disdain that you have had from your 3 years of studying economics. It is therefore imperative that students fill in the survey. Our opinion still remains that the dismal science is not seeing the change that is necessary to create economics students that are fit for purpose.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What have you learnt from your economics degree?

Have you been exposed to economic history in your degree?

Are you confident in communicating your economic knowledge to different groups such as the public, academics and fellow students?

Has your curriculum made any mention of theories such as endogenous money, cost plus pricing or the financial instability hypothesis, all heterodox theories which have a good degree of empirical support?

Has the assessment challenged you at university or do you find that you memorise a model and regurgitate it in an exam?

Have you been encouraged in tutorials to think critically about the subject?

The reaction of the department in the last academic year and since their dreadful 2013/2014 NSS results has not been good enough. Proposed new modules which would take students’ concerns into account were a case of all talk and little action. Consultations with students have become token gestures where opinions are monopolised and students’ pleas fall on deaf ears.

Take the current course restructuring as an example. In student consultations the message was clear from students represented by PCES, BA Econ, BSC, PPE and other subjects that the restructuring wasn’t a good idea in its presented form. Academics within the department also appear not to have been consulted on this new course structure, so there is not simply an academic failure in the economics department but also an organisational failure. The transparency of the process leaves a lot to be desired. Cooperation should be the cornerstone of institutions like the University of Manchester and yet what appears to be taking place is a lesson in forcing through changes that the academics and students have little say in.

Calls from the department of “we have listened” are also a fabrication; they are not listening to students. ‘A few disgruntled students’ has become the buzz phrase of academics in the department but we believe there are many students at the University of Manchester who share the views above, as evidenced by the fact that we have had 200+ signatures on two separate petitions calling for an alternative module.

We therefore encourage students to voice their opinions in the NSS. Whether your opinion of the department is good or bad, they need to hear your opinions and the NSS offers ample opportunity.

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