School of Arts

Our School of Arts provides an invigorating educational experience, offering an exciting range of arts and humanities courses that are built on our internationally renowned research. We are housed in the Gordon Square terrace where Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell lived and worked.

You said: You wanted the College to offer more academic support

  • The introduction of ‘early warning’ assessments in Level 4 modules across the School has enabled us to identify students for early referral to the learning development tutor. In 2015/16 we identified an academic in each department with the primary responsibility of collating names of such students, sometimes even before the first assessment point.
  • We integrated support and supervision for the final-year project into the Investigating Language module (academic support).
  • We have introduced module choice surgeries led by programme directors in Cultures and Languages.
  • The Learning Support Officer’s presence in front of new undergraduate students from all programmes in the Department of English and Humanities has led to more self-referrals early on, including from areas previously not targeted.
  • We have improved the information on our student service pages to provide you with academic support information and contact details.

You said: Good-quality assessment and speedy and useful feedback is important to you

  • We instituted a set of marking guidelines to reduce turnaround time for coursework, with the exemption of specific cases – such as screenwriting – where the nature of the work requires a longer time in order to mark to the expected standards.
  • We tightened up on marking turnaround times.
  • We have improved the information on our student service pages to better provide you with better information regarding assessment and feedback.

You said: You didn't know how your mark had been calculated

  • We developed a new departmental marking policy. The new system of feedback was trialed last year, and it has received very positive comments from students and external examiners.

You said: that you value getting support with personal development and employability

  • We are running a vocational seminar series on Language and Communication in Business and Professions in which speakers working in language and communication fields will come and talk about their work. It will give students an opportunity to explore different career options.
  • We developed Erasmus+ exchange options for all BA language students.
  • In response to comments about the need for more support and employability training, a pilot programme of events designed especially for History of Art students was run in 2016-17. This was particularly targeted to BA, Graduate Certificate and MA students, designed to help with career options, skills, and connections with key institutions and industries.
  • The Department of History of Art has also reviewed the content of some of our level 4 and 5 modules, and has relaunched them with enhanced study support and skills content.

You said: The College could offer better services to support your experience

  • Induction was managed differently this year, which enabled us to highlight central and School provisions in a new way.

You said: The quality of teaching at Birkbeck is excellent. we think we can make it even better

  • Students will have an opportunity to engage with practising artists via Skype in what promises to be a new and innovative approach to teaching and learning.
  • We have had positive curriculum development particularly at level 4 which has led to improved retention rate.
  • We also have a wide range of level 5 and level 6 options on offer which seems to please students.
  • Our new ‘Research Skills for Dissertations’ level 5 module has been introduced in 2016-17 for all new students.