Graduate Satisfaction Survey Reveals Needs for University-Wide Minimum Stipend & Quality Supervision

on January 23, 2015
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MEDIA RELEASE

Vancouver, BC – To better understand graduate students’ satisfaction with their experiences at UBC, the Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver (GSS) has conducted a survey with their membership in the spring of 2014. An analysis of the recently published results identifies two key recommendations:

  1. To establish a university-wide minimum stipend amount for graduate students in research-based programs
  2. To develop and communicate expectations that all graduate students must receive regular meaningful contact with their research supervisor and committee

The 2014 Graduate Satisfaction Survey covered a wide variety of topics, including graduate funding, academic supervision, academic and non-academic quality of life, as well as student well-being and mental health. The questions also explored GSS services and improvements that can be made to enhance graduate student experience at UBC Vancouver.

The 1,550 responses collected reveal that students are generally satisfied with the funding they receive, but the high cost of living in Vancouver means that funding doesn’t provide basic support; having a pre-determined minimum stipend would make a huge difference. Respondents have pinpointed that “Establishing guaranteed minimum stipends and increasing the number of scholarships” as the top lobbying priority.

Overall, most graduate students have good experience with their research supervisors. A lack of regular contact, however, seems to be the main driver of dissatisfaction; and the widely varied frequency of supervisory meetings between faculties as correlated with the dissatisfaction level is left without a clear explanation from the survey. The GSS recommends the University develop and communicate expectations that all graduate students must receive regular meaningful contact with their research supervisor and committee.

“With the Graduate Satisfaction Survey targeted at graduate students, we have gained valuable insights into how our members are engaging in their campus life,” says Colúm Connolly, President of the Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver. “We can improve our support for them and advocate on important issues that they face as their voice on the Vancouver campus.”

The 2014 Graduate Satisfaction Survey is the first membership research undertaken by the GSS; survey results are available at www.gss.ubc.ca/grad-survey.

For more information, please contact Colúm Connolly, President of the Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver, at president@gss.ubc.ca.

The Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver (GSS) is an independent student society that advocates on behalf of over 10,000 graduate students at UBC Vancouver to the administration of UBC and all levels of government to enhance the graduate student experience. The GSS is incorporated under the Society Act of BC in 1982. For more information on the GSS, visit www.gss.ubc.ca.

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Graduate Satisfaction Survey Reveals Needs for University-Wide Minimum Stipend & Quality Supervision