At the Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies we are committed to offer the best learning experience to our key interlocutors: our students. The most effective way to know if we are meeting their expectations, what we are already doing well and what we can improve, is to ask them. This is why over the summer we asked our current, past and prospective students to take a survey to get feedback about our courses and overall activities. We strongly believe that an ongoing, open and transparent dialogue with our community is vital to keep improving and to make sure we are on top of our students’ needs.
We asked 30 questions related to our courses and plans. 120 people of 56 nationalities took the survey, most of the responders work in INGOs (55%), NGOs (21%), with the rest workingin in Universities or Academic Centres, Un Agencies, Ministries of Health and donor organisations (fig.1).
Over half of the respondents are currently in a middle-management position, followed by a senior position (fig. 2).
We were very happy to learn that 70% of the survey’s respondents would “definitely recommend” our courses to a colleague. We also delighted to hear that more than 60% of our former students would consider being an ambassador of our Centre.
Key outcomes of our courses listed by former students included “increased professional knowledge” (38%), “career improvement” (24%), and “acquired specific skills” (22%). (Fig. 3)
More in detail, respondents were pleased with our Centre and what it offers, from student life to curriculum and resources. Strong points of the Centre include its location, reputation, unique course offering (including both the topics of our courses and the fact that are practice-oriented), the quality of lecturers and our diverse student body.
Concerning what we could improve, the main recommendations referred to more scholarship opportunities and a stronger alumni network for peer-to-peer support and networking opportunities.
We also used the survey to gauge feedback on our plans for the upcoming years related to the format of courses (residential, online or blended) and their location. Blended learning is the most popular option, selected by 56% of respondents. Additionally, more than half of our respondents would be encouraged to enroll in regional courses if they existed. Interestingly, this feedback is very much in line with our plans to offer a more inclusive and decentralised learning experience over the next years.
The student survey has provided invaluable information to us. We listened to what our respondents said, and our team has taken on board this feedback as we are working on a new strategy for our Centre, which we will launch in the upcoming months.