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School of Law

The School of Law is a leading centre for critical, interdisciplinary and innovative legal and criminological research, which informs our teaching and our interactions with policy-makers, public bodies, the legal profession, NGOs, campaign and pressure groups and the wider public.

Survey feedback

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

  • We have introduced measures to improve students' experience of academic support, feedback and assessment, including:
    • the move to online marking
    • the move to moderation instead of second marking in all programmes and modules across the School
    • the hiring of additional full-time staff at Lecturer level to improve our student/staff ratio.
  • We have created new information sheets for students on all programmes, including a 'Where to find information' flowchart on what students should do if they have queries or concerns, so as to direct their queries more effectively, make better use of staff time and avoid information bottlenecks.
  • We have made it easier for students to contact their Personal Tutors by including their Tutor’s contact info on every student's My Birkbeck profile. We have improved the information on the My Birkbeck pages to provide students with more Academic Support information.
  • We introduced a Year Tutors system on the LLB and LLM-QLD programmes, to offer further academic support and advice to students, in addition to Personal Tutors.
  • We hired an additional Learning Development Tutor, to expand our academic skill programme and increase availability of learning supports for students.
  • We have increased the number and range of study skills workshops available and have tailored the content to respond to the specific needs of law and criminology students, including postgraduate taught students. We have expanded the times in which we offer study skill sessions to allow greater flexibility for students to attend, and have started to make recordings of workshops available on Moodle for those unable to attend in person.
  • We are expanding the range of interactive online learning development resources to support students who cannot make it to workshops.
  • We have increased the availability of one-to-one appointments for students to meet with our Learning Development Tutors for academic skills support, thereby complementing the interaction between Personal Tutors and their student tutees.
  • We have introduced new dissertation skill sessions for LLB, LLM/QLD and Criminology PGT students, to be taught by full-time members of staff together with the Learning Development Tutors, as part of the students' normal teaching timetable, rather than as extra-curricular activities.
  • Initiatives to enhance academic support have been supported by improvements to departmental administrative processes. We launched a regular student survey on administrative support so we can better respond to student feedback about administrative processes.

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

  • The introduction of online marking as well as moderation has been designed to free more time for teaching staff to offer better quality of feedback before and after assessment deadlines, at faster speed, and supported by the tools provided by digital platforms.
  • To supplement and support this development, we have created a comprehensive School of Law Marking Guide for staff, to ensure greater consistency, quality and clarity around marking and feedback.
  • We have developed new subject-specific marking criteria which more clearly shows expectations at each level of study. We have also incorporated these into marking rubrics in the online marking system in order to help students understand exactly how they have performed against these criteria.
  • We have developed more useful feedback comments with links to specific resources to encourage students to engage with and act on feedback.
  • We redesigned the feedback form for some assessments to offer more tailored feedback.
  • The standard marking timeframe is now two weeks for marking and one week for moderation, followed by a shorter administrative processing period, to enable us to return feedback to students more quickly.
  • We have created an 'FAQs about assessments' section on the Criminology programme pages of Moodle to enable students to find the answers to common questions more quickly.

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

  • We have integrated more transferrable-skills sessions on core modules for both Law and Criminology programmes, to support students in developing a range of skills. We have also revised the assessments on core modules to focus on developing key skills.
  • All Year 1 modules in Law and Criminology now include skills-based and assignment preparation classes. We offer clinical and practice-specific option modules in the final years.
  • We have created new careers and opportunities pages on Moodle to better share information with students about job and career development opportunities.
  • We have created new academic roles of Careers and Internships Coordinator (Criminology) and Legal Professions Links Coordinator (Law), to develop resources and run events. This includes the creation of a new Criminology Volunteers Directory, for students seeking volunteer experience, and closer links with the Birkbeck Careers Service, Enterprise Pathways and the Upskill Programme.
  • We now run a regular series of career events for both law and criminology students, including Legal Practice Conversations and the Criminology Careers Event series to support networking and learn about career pathways.

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

  • The College has expanded its new student Orientation Programme and introduced more skills sessions during the induction period, including sessions tailored for Law and Criminology students.
  • A 'Training Needs Analysis' requirement at PGR has been introduced which must be undertaken annually by each PhD student, who, working with their supervisors, identify particular areas of training need and propose how the needs will be met. The Birkbeck Graduate Research School are developing a programme of workshops, courses and other resources to provide for training needs.
  • We have developed a detailed Induction and Skills Guide in Criminology and recently revised and updated our induction week events across all programmes.
  • Learning Development Tutors in the School now offer pre-entry skills workshops during August and early September to help incoming students to prepare before embarking on their studies.

You said: the quality of teaching at Birkbeck is excellent. We think we could make it even better.

  • We continue to improve and diversify our curriculum and develop innovative assessments and skills provision.
  • We continue to develop and offer new optional modules across our programmes, based on feedback from students on what topics they would like to see covered.
  • We offer academic and learning development workshops and tutorials for students available at all levels of study.
  • We now offer more modules in the summer term across several programmes to allow students to spread their course load throughout the year and achieve better results.
  • We run peer observation and feedback for teaching staff to ensure our teaching practice is constantly innovating and improving in line with best practice.