I've worked at several UK institutions over the past 10 years and one aspect that consistently raises my eyebrows is the reaction to student-staff liaison meetings* from senior members of the team. Often, these meetings are merely an opportunity for the 'representative' to voice their own concerns and are clearly, obviously, not representative. Yet, time after time, when a far fetched and often untrue complaint/comment is made in one of these meetings, senior staff go into full meltdown and start firing off perplexing and demotivating e-mails asking for things to be fixed because the students are unhappy. The simple matter is, as previously stated, these are often not representative views and the sample size is one: the person who said it.
In any other context, a sample size of one would be immediately disregarded by those with only rudimentary scientific knowledge. No sound conclusion could ever be drawn from that sample. Yet, if this sample happens to be one student in the context of a 'staff-student liaison' meeting then it appears to be absolute fact to senior 'management'.
My question is for fellow academics from across the world, do you have this nonsense to deal with? What do you tell 'management' if they ask you to change based on comments from a single source? Am I being too touchy about it?
I am a lecturer at a UK institution.
*These meetings are usually bi-yearly where student 'representatives' voice any matters arising on their degree
For the those thinking "Jeez, this guy gets a lot of bad comments". I have not once been on the receiving end of this but I know good colleagues lose sleep over it.
I also see the benefits of these meetings, I do not wish for them to be scrapped.