WiegETHs / HowsETHgoing

In the spring semester of 2019, the VSETH organized and launched a survey called “wiegETHs” (HowsETHgoing) for the first time to get a better overview of students and their well-being at ETH. The students’ responses provided important insights and helped the VSETH advocate for their concerns. From March 18, 2019, to April 2, 2019, a total of 6,400 students completed the survey. This corresponded to 42.2% of all bachelor’s and master’s students at ETH Zurich. 

This year, the VSETH has decided to start a second round of the survey, five years after its initial launch.  The “wiegETHs” survey will enter its second round from April 10, 2024, to May 10, 2024. This time, the VSETH has teamed up with the AVETH to open the new edition of “wiegETHs” to academic staff at ETH as well.

The “wiegETHs 2024” is an important tool for the VSETH and the AVETH to gather information anonymously on the interests and needs of all students and the entire academic staff (PhDs, postdocs, scientific staff, etc.) to work together to improve conditions at ETH.

To make wiegETHs 2024 as successful as 2019, we need as many people as possible to complete our survey. Therefore, we ask you to participate in wiegETHs 2024 and help us make ETH a better place for all of us! 

How long does the survey take and what is it about? 

The anonymous survey takes approximately 13 minutes. The main focuses of our survey “wiegETHs” are on general well-being, mental health, personal experiences with discrimination and misconduct, as well as the general study- and working conditions at ETH Zurich. This year, for the first time, all students and all members of the academic staff at ETH Zurich will be surveyed on these topics.

What are the benefits of such a survey? 

Such a survey has immense value not only for the work of VSETH and AVETH in the future but also for many other stakeholders at ETH Zurich. Through the data collected by the survey, ETH Zurich and its associated sub-units such as departments can address the specific needs of the two largest member groups at ETH Zurich. Furthermore, it enables all parties to shape the future development of ETH Zurich.

How does this survey differ from wiegETHs 2019? 

The biggest difference to the wiegETHs 2019 survey is that this year we have opened the survey to mid-level academic staff at ETH Zurich. This naturally increases the importance and value of the survey.  In the 2024 survey, we have oriented ourselves strongly toward the 2019 questionnaire and structure to enable comparability between the two years. Nevertheless, we have made great efforts as a team of students and academic staff to work on the structure and points of criticism of the last survey (e.g. specific suggestive questions) and to integrate previously forgotten topics.

What have the results of wiegETHs 2019 changed at ETH?

 WiegETHs 2019 brought about some important changes at ETH.  Some of these initiatives: 

Better safety/preventive concepts for events

Since events are an integral part of the culture at ETH, but undesirable incidents happen here time and again, a working group was set up to look into safety measures for different types of events. In addition, many of the organizing committees of major events now include awareness persons who design safety measures for the respective event.

Changes in the study regulations

Until recently, all examinations in the Department of Chemistry were written in the summer after the second year. This created a heavy workload for students in the summer. Now, the first part of the exams is taken in winter, which reduces the workload in summer and ensures that students receive feedback earlier and learn to assess their strengths and weaknesses without having 13 exams simultaneously.

More peer-mentoring programs

In several study feels peer mentoring was introduced. The idea here is that a student from a higher semester helps a student from the firs semesters to find their way around campus life. This is especially important for students who are new to the university context and is also a great help to give students a role model.

Evidence for programs like PAKETH

PAKETH is the huge restructuring project of the academic calendar that is coming in 2027. The idea of this new structure is t give students more freedom in the structure of their studies (yes, holidays too). WieETHs 2019 showed that such an increase in flexibility is a big desire for many students so the data from the last survey massively helps to promote the discussions about the new academic calendar.

… and much more!

For more initiatives, see the measures taken after wiegETHs 2019

Is my data secured? 

The dispatch, data recording, and initial evaluation are carried out by an official survey institute, the gfs-Zurich. Anonymity is one hundred percent guaranteed and is subject to the highest security precautions in accordance with the Swiss data protection law. The data is stored on local servers in Switzerland and does not contain any information that can be directly traced back to individuals. The anonymization and initial evaluation of the results will be carried out by gfs-Zurich. The anonymized data, can then only be viewed and evaluated by delegates of the VSETH and AVETH who have been specially appointed to compile reports on the student body and academic staff of ETH Zurich. They must sign a confidentiality agreement before accessing the anonymized data. The raw data will not be passed on to third parties (including ETH Zurich).

What do ETH and the Rectorate think of conducting this survey?

The Rectorate and the management of ETH support the survey. During the preparation of the survey,  many ETH units were contacted to incorporate their feedback into the survey.

When will the first results be available?

We have planned to present the first results in the form of an interim report as soon as possible after the end of the survey period. Due to the cooperation with the external official survey institute gfs-Zurich, it is unfortunately not possible for us to give a clear date for when we can publish this report, as this depends on the