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,...

Myth Busting: Post Crash and the NSS

Myth busting: Post-Crash and the NSS A recently published article about the University of Manchester economics department’s declining National Student Survey (NSS) results has brought to the surface concerns among members of the university community about our actions last spring. We hope this blog post will go some way to addressing these concerns whilst also putting to rest any misunderstandings. What we actually did in March It was fairly widely reported that we were coordinating some sort of negative response to the NSS but what this actually was appears to have somewhat got lost along the way. What we didn’t publicly tell students to do was to give a negative response because we “just don’t like neoclassical economics”. We asked students to reflect on the changes they had or hadn’t seen in the curriculum. This is clear from the post on our Facebook page, where we stated: “…we are asking you to please wait before filling out your NSS until after the university has made its decision regarding Bubbles, Panics and Crashes…If it decides to accept this course as a module it will be demonstrating its dedication to its students…If it rejects this module the opposite will be true…We hope you agree.” It’s also important to highlight that the economics department also embarked upon a campaign to get students to fill out the NSS, whilst highlighting the changes they had made that year to improve student experience This was seen, for example, in the large banners in the Arthur Lewis building (UoM’s social sciences block) and the eleven tweets from the department’s feed. We were providing the other side...