Feedback Management at TUM:

"Tell us what we can do better!"

Portrait Nina Grote
Verantwortlich für das Feedbackmanagement der TU München: Nina Grote (Foto: Astrid Eckert)

Any requests, suggestions, criticism – as students often have? At TUM, there has now been an appropriate single point of contact for one year: the Feedback Management of the SSZ. It was built up by Nina Grote, who handles every request personally. Feedback Management – what does that mean exactly? What concerns do the students have? And how can they be helped? Nina Grote in an interview.

Feedbackmanagement - what is that exactly?

Nina Grote: "Feedback" refers to a response. Feedback Management is what organizations call a dialogue with the customer. Customers are allowed to express their concerns – they are even supposed to do so. At TUM, our "customers" are the students.

And the students are supposed to have ideal conditions at TUM. They should be able to help shape them.

Nina Grote: That’s right. Ideally, Feedback Management should result in suggestions, compliments and constructive criticism. We require the critique because it can help to give a lot of new impulses. This is why we would really like to ask the students to contact us. Let us know what bothers you and what we could do better. Any suggestion is important for us.

The Feedback Management provides students with one central point of contact for suggestions and criticism. What else is it good for?

Nina Grote: It makes sense to collect suggestions and criticism at one central point. This enables us to analyze causes for problems from an overall point of view. In any case, this is neither about merely collecting complaints nor about trying to identify someone who is guilty. The goal is to improve the conditions for studying or working at TUM. Who could provide better help than the students themselves?

With what concerns can I contact the Feedback Management?

Nina Grote: This is how we define it: We are open to any student concerns – to anything that has to do with studying or the TUM’s studying conditions. This applies to every student and of course to almost every employee.

What kind of issues are the most common?

Nina Grote: Most of the questions are about the infrastructure, about the facilities and the equipment. One serious issue is that there is never enough learning space for the students. But there are also very specific issues, such as a broken lamp or some faulty device. And it is also often about the, let's say, informational structure: Questions about who would be able to help with this or that problem. In 2012, we had more than 300 requests. All were meant seriously and all were answered.

How does it work exactly? Initially, I would contact you via the online form (link to http://portal.mytum.de/studium-und-lehre/feedback/mailform.2010-01-27.0566427359/) – what happens then?

Nina Grote: Any question will be answered, even if someone writes anonymously. Simple things can often be resolved quickly. For example, I sometimes just need to pass on the issue to the right person. It also happens that several responsible people need to be coordinated and consulted – then that is what I take care of. The faculties are going to a lot of trouble, for which I am very thankful. Of course, there are some more complex issues, such as changes in the organization of a course of studies. In these cases, I pass on the students' suggestions or feedback to those who are responsible.

We’ve had the TUM Feedback Management for a year now. What do you like especially about your job?

Nina Grote: I think it is exciting to be in direct contact with the students. I am particularly pleased if suggestions lead to specific projects. For instance, we are now implementing some of the proposals by students or employees that were awarded at the Academicus ideas contest: There's the app "MyBib Lernplatzgarantie", which will help you to find a free workplace in the main and branch libraries. There is also a parking disc system to improve the workplace-situation in the libraries – and the TUM's student publishing house, which will publish selected study papers and final theses. Further, bike service stations are being installed at several TUM locations.

Nina Grote is a political scientist and has been at TUM since 2010. Before, she worked in the customer service department of the Allianz. At TUM, she introduced the hotline of the SSZ (link to http://www.tum.de/studium/beratung/hotline-und-service-desk/) – the central telephone contact point for inquiries by prospective students, applicants and students. Approximately 48,000 inquiries by e-mail and 34,000 inquiries by phone were answered in 2012. Nina Grote is responsible for the management center since 2011. She also runs the Academicus ideas contest (link to http://portal.mytum.de/studium-und-lehre/feedback/ideenwettbewerb_academicus/).

Interview: Verena Meinecke