Creating a richer understanding of who our members are and what they want us to do for them

In a series: Westfield Fund 2016
1 Theme 1 Topic View

Westfield 2016 project to undertake research into the student population at QMUL

Mike Wojcik, Queen Mary Students’ Union

The QMUL Students’ Union is a representative body that is trying to deliver for its members and improve the student experience.  In 2014 the Union launched its 3 year strategic plan and objective 2.2 stated:

2.2       Find out who the Union members are and what they want their Union to do for them

Does the Union really know its students?  How many commute? How many live in the local area? What are their backgrounds?  The Union needs to stop asking students do you think our services are great, and start asking them who they are and what they need.’

This is an area to date that the Union has made little progress on and believes it is key to its ability to continue to add true value to the student experience.  The associated indicators of progress that measure the performance of this objective are:

  • Identify 5 facts we did not know about our student body and use them to change the way we work and approach our students
  • Identify and work on 3 priorities a year that will benefit the student body
  • Increase in the number of students saying the Union is relevant to them

Having consulted leading Unions in the sector and the NUS it was determined that the most appropriate way for us to fulfil this objective was to commission a piece of independent research into student segmentation.  Student segmentation is a process in which the student population is broken down into a smaller number of subgroups and allows the Union target its representation, service provision and communications.  This takes away the reliance of looking at the student body purely by demographics and recognises that not all students who are classified as international, postgrad, faculty etc, think or act the same and there are numerous subcategories within these areas.

Click to enlarge the conference poster below: