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12:39pm on Friday, 27th September, 2013:

Bottom 10


In an email from the Vice Chancellor, I learn that Essex University is rated 113th in the UK for graduate prospects, meaning we're in the bottom 10. This sounds pretty bad.

It may well be bad in some subjects. I can't imagine that many of the students on our Drama course (which is very highly rated) will walk into acting jobs when they leave. Also, Essex University is heavy on social sciences and humanities, for which there isn't as much graduate demand as there is for sciences. That doesn't explain the overall abyssmally low employment figure, though.

What does explain it is our policy with regards to student emails. Unlike practically every other university in the UK, Essex University removes student email accounts at the end of the academic year in which they finish their degree. This means we can't contact them 6 months later to find out whether they have a job or not. This is recorded as their not having a job, which makes our employment figures look dreadful. Sure,

There is some kind of system by which we make students give us a non-academic email address as part of the if-you-don't-do-it-you-don't-get-the-degree-certificate process, but these tend to be of poor quality: they're either rapidly abandoned, already abandoned, or completely made up. Students see it as a "please give us an address we can spam you on" question. If we didn't remove their university accounts, which they've purposefully set up so they'll see any emails sent to them, then we could contact them for years. Give our students free emails for life!

Oh, and don't use email anyway: write to their home address and include a stamped-addressed envelope. That would work best of all.

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Copyright © 2013 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).