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The University of Queensland Union

Student Research

The brief 

The University of Queensland Union (UQU) were seeking to gain a better understanding of what the student body, elected student leaders and executives at the University of Queensland expect from their student union. Looking to improve and update their service offer and communication strategy, UQU were keen that the research uncover where differences in expectations across different stakeholders exist and how best to promote collaboration between UQU and the University in the future. UQU commissioned Shift Learning in light of our extensive experience of conducting research with both student and executive audiences, as well as our track record of supporting university student unions in their communication strategies.

The approach

Shift first conducted 32 interviews across the 3 key stakeholder groups: Elected Student Leaders, UQU Executives and University of Queensland Executives. Using projective techniques, these interviews shed light on points of tension between UQU and the University of Queensland, as well as potential ways UQU’s governance, services and representation of the student body could be improved. Shift then harnessed these insights to form an eSurvey to be sent to a representative sample of the University’s student body. This eSurvey measured the student body’s opinion on areas of contention uncovered during the interviews and the potential ways UQU’s electoral and representative process could be reformed. 

The value

Shift’s findings from this research were pivotal to informing the UQU’s future service output, communication strategy and relationship with the University. Having identified the key sources of tension between the two bodies, Shift provided insightful recommendations to UQU that enabled them to collaborate more closely and effectively with the University. The research findings also provided comprehensive clarification around the services and support students expected from their union, and how UQU could better represent and serve students.