Students' mental working environment has deteriorated at CBS

Skrevet af Lasse Christian NielsenJesper Snedker Adamsen, (versioning) - Foto: © Ocusfocus | Dreamstime.com - 27. februar 2015 - 12:140 kommentarer
Students at CBS are becoming increasingly stressed due to the intense focus on getting a high GPA.

New study environment report finds that students stress over grades and that CBS’ administration should be more accommodating to students. 

New report finds that the quality of the mental working environment at CBS has declined during the past couple of years. The report finds that an increasing number of students stress over grades and exams and the consequences are that some students “isolate themselves, consider dropping out, or actually drop out”.

Wilber van der Meer, Director of Dean’s Office, believes that students’ increasing stress levels are caused by them worrying more and more about getting high grades that will look good on their résumés in their hunt for student jobs.

- Thus, we want to show students that they do not necessarily need to be straight A and B students to feel good about their performances; and to promote this notion we need to address the issue and involve lecturers in the process as well, says Wilbert van der Meer and continues:

- Especially students enrolled in programs with high grade point averages required for admission are massively dissatisfied if their performance at an exam results in the grades D or C. In this regard, it is important to tell students that others have been through the same exams and that a significant portion of these students did worse than them.

New types of examination on the drawing board

A student survey, which is part of the report, finds that students want increased focus on feedback in relation to exams. Wilbert van der Meer says that new types of examination are a possibility and that CBS is currently in the process of trying to accommodate students in this regard.

- At this point we have not yet constructed or decided to implement new types of examination, but we are currently considering a number of options. One recommendation is that students write their master’s thesis in pairs to reduce stress, says Wilbert van der Meer.

Furthermore, the report recommends that exchange program applicants are increasingly screened based on a qualitative assessment, e.g. to what degree a specific student’s program corresponds with the exchange university’s program(s), instead of focusing solely on the student’s grade point average.

- Should it be possible to assess applicants on other parameters than grade point average, it would reduce the pressure in relation to grades. This is particularly relevant for undergraduates applying for exchange programs as they are still new to university life at the point of the application deadline, says Wilbert van der Meer and continues:

- If we manage to decrease emphasis on grades, we might also be able to promote less competition among students in relation to grades.

Wilbert van der Meer stresses that the possible implementation of qualitative assessments is still on the drawing board and that one obstacle is that CBS has very limited resources at this point.

CBS administration spawns frustration

The report also found that students are generally dissatisfied with CBS’ administrative body. However, an overhaul of CBS’ administrative services is on the agenda.

One of the most significant points of criticism is that the administration is not sufficiently accommodating in terms of answering students’ questions. Inadequate answers to basic questions combined with long response times make up a cocktail of frustration for students at CBS.

Luckily, improvements have been detected as the report shows that the Student Hubs are popular among students, who consider them to be a step in the right direction.

- The administrative structure has been under development for a while and we have recently implemented a new IT system. This has caused some confusion; however, we are starting to see positive developments. After the we received the results of the evaluations we have reorganized the administrative body to better accommodate the needs of our ‘customers’, says Wilbert van der Meer and elaborates:

- And I am confident that we will be able to improve the quality of our services in the foreseeable future. One of the new initiatives is that exam dates for electives are made available at the beginning of the semester. This helps students plan their activities in examination periods.

Students want better social environment

The survey conducted among students shows that students are generally satisfied with the physical study environment. However, the survey also shows that students want CBS to offer better opportunities for the establishment of a better social environment.

Especially proper locations for student socialization are high on students’ wish lists, and this includes more room for academic activities as well as more room for socialization besides the facilities provided by Café Nexus. Thus, an improvement of the social environment is also part of CBS management’s agenda and plan of action for the period 2015-2017.

- We are working on an improvement and expansion of our common areas such as the Learning Resource Center. Additionally, new projects such as the Graduate House and the Student Innovation House in the former police station will contribute positively to the social environment at CBS, says René Steffensen. 

Info 

What is an evaluation of the study and teaching environments?

The evaluation is conducted every three years, which is required by law. The report evaluates the study environment based on 3 parameters: the physical environment, the mental working environment, and the teaching/learning environment.