Category Archives: Peer Mentoring

the parent HUB

Newcastle University Peer Mentoring is proud to launch the parent HUB.

This hub is aimed for all students who are parents, foster carers, adoptive parents, or about to become parents, regardless of age, gender or sexuality.

The free online hub allows you to share experiences, ask questions and be part of a parenting community within the university. There will be trained university wide peer mentors as part of the network to offer one-to-one support and guidance, as well as answer any question in the discussion board.

The hub will be based on Microsoft Teams and is an excellent source of advice and support from like-minded, empathetic and patient peers.

There will be a schedule of face-to-face activities for you to meet up with other parents, ask questions, have a chat, share your experiences and support you through the balance of being a student and a parent. And for those of you unable to attend these, there will also be a range of ZOOM online conference activities to allow you to meet new parents and be able to engage in conversation as though you were in the same room from the comfort of your own home.

The parent hub will also allow you to share, lend, borrow, give, donate, sell, and buy those much needed pieces of equipment and clothing via the online discussion group.

The files section of the hub will allow the University to share useful information and documents with you – as well as members of the network being able to upload documents as well.

There will be the opportunity to share your experiences of child-friendly shops, restaurants, taxi companies, as well as provide some top tips of baby-changing facilities in the University and city, and baby feeding friendly places.

To join the parent HUB please email Tony Chapman-Wilson at peer.mentoring@newcastle.ac.uk now.

There will be the official launch of the parent HUB at an activity event on Wednesday 17 April 2019 between 11am and 2pm. This will take place in the Lindisfarne Room in the Hadrian’s Building opposite the Bedson Building and Boiler Room.

There will be refreshments and activities for the children, as well as the opportunity for you to meet other parents. There will be a child feeding room available, as well as the opportunity to speak to members of the University Peer Mentoring scheme and Student Health and Wellbeing Services.

Come along at any point during the event and sign up for the parent HUB on the day as well.

PGT Peer Mentoring Task and Finish Group

We are looking to introduce further pilot schemes in regards to PGT buddy/mentoring within the University.

An email invitation was sent to Senior Tutors and Peer Mentoring staff coordinators to volunteer to join a Task and Finish Group to consider the best way forward regarding the launching of these pilots. If anyone would like to become a member of this group please contact Tony Chapman-Wilson, the University Peer Mentoring Coordinator for further details at Tony.Chapman-Wilson@Newcastle.ac.uk.

Peer Mentoring Thank You Event

Peer mentors from across the University gathered at the Great North Museum: Hancock last Monday to celebrate another successful year of the scheme.

Mentors and staff coordinators enjoyed drinks, food and an array of Christmas tunes as awards were given out for the best mentor from each Faculty and for the best Co-ordinator across the University.

PVC for Learning and Teaching Suzanne Cholerton introduces the awards
PVC for Learning and Teaching Suzanne Cholerton introduces the awards

Student mentors were nominated by the students they were mentoring and comments made were displayed on tables around to room:

‘My mentor was always positive and put 100% effort into helping every individual in our group.’

‘It is often more helpful to have a student’s perspective on an issue rather than just a staff perspective.’

peer-mentoring-quotationThe winners were Sachin Anand from Dental Sciences, Anjuli Chatterjee from Newcastle Law School and James Fortune from School of Biology.

The Coordinator of the Year was Alison Graham from the School of Biology.

alison-graham-award
Peer Mentoring Coordinator Winner Alison Graham, James Fortune Student Peer Mentor Winner and peer mentors from the School of Biology

The festive celebrations aimed to thank all students and staff for the time and effort they put into making the scheme such a success.

Well done everyone!

If you would like to get involved in Peer Mentoring at Newcastle, or you would like to find out more email us.

Peer Mentoring: Feedback Sessions

With the Peer Mentoring Scheme well underway across the University, mentors have been meeting with convenors to check how things are going.

Alison Graham convenes the Peer Mentors in the School of Biology.

feedback-session-peer-mentoring
Students in Peer Mentoring feedback session

She meets with Peer Mentors in the school in week 2, week 4 and week 7 or 8, just to check how students are doing and make sure that mentors and mentees are getting the most out of the scheme.

‘What I’ve started to try to do is to incentivise the meetings, so the students feel that they are getting something out of them, as well as just catching up.

‘I came up with the idea of tying them to the Graduate Skills Framework, so I often work through how the mentors will be able to use their skills in applying for jobs.

‘We go through how to evidence the skills that they’ve gained in applications and at  interview.’

Alison hopes that this approach will make the scheme more lucrative for second and third year students who may be unsure about giving up their time.

‘It’s really about making sure that students can see and really use the skills they are gaining form being a Peer Mentor, in addition to helping other students.’

Alison says the scheme has proved popular in the School and that students have described it as useful but that often the whole experience relies on engagement from the mentors.

‘We have some excellent mentors who establish a real social group and relationship with their mentees by organising trips and events.

‘We try to encourage that and encourage teamwork within the groups – for example, we organise a treasure hunt in week one where they all have to work together.’

She says that the amount of engagement with mentors depends on individual students and often to circumstances.

‘But it depends on them. Some students only really liaise with their mentor in the first few weeks but some need a little bit more.

‘They also tend to turn to their mentors around exam and assignment time.

‘But it can also be really important for some students who are struggling.’

As a convenor for the programme, Alison points out that its important for the mentors to be trained and supported so that they know what queries they can answer.

‘We have to be quite careful to make sure that they know how much help they can give students with their academic work.

‘Obviously they can provide some advice but we don’t want people sharing assignments or anything, so that’s something we have to train them for.’

As well as the feedback meetings, Peer Mentors have all been invited to a Thank You party, taking place on 5th December in the Great North Museum.

Claire Burnham, the University’s Peer Mentoring Coordinator said: ‘We’re very excited about the event.

‘The Mentor of the year award will be presented on the night and we’ve already had 400 nominations from students across the University.

‘It’s a great way of rewarding our mentors and our convenors for all of their hard work.’

 

Peer Mentoring: Helping Our New Students to Settle In

APL-Induction Pasta
Students Parents meet their Mentees in Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Peer parenting, or mentoring, inductions have taken place across campus.

The university’s mentoring scheme is gearing up for another busy year of supporting first year students through the first term of University here at Newcastle.

The scheme involves recruiting second year students to act as mentors, or parents, to first years offering advice on academic work as well as on other aspects of University experience.

In the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (APL), Caroline Armstrong,  Student Recruitment and Wellbeing Manager, organises the scheme, and the new “families” are all set for the new year.

Caroline said: ‘We call them parents in this school, rather than mentors.

‘We’ve been doing this for years now.

‘I just think that it’s such a good way of helping students to settle in.

‘I pick out the groups as soon as the firm offers are confirmed and students are contacted before they start by their new university “parents”.’

Caroline thinks the scheme is invaluable for new students in the School.

‘Just having someone there, who was in your position last year, to say “it gets better” makes all the difference.

‘Our students, like many others from across the University, are used to being real shining stars at School and when they get to University can struggle as they adjust to new subjects and new ways of thinking.

‘The have a social room, like a Common Room in the School and knowing and socialising with the second and third years can help them to feel comfortable and relaxed in these public spaces.’

The School have recently run their induction event, at which mentors meet their mentees for the first time.

‘We just get them together and they get a tour of the School and then have lunch with their new “families”.

‘To break the ice we gave them spaghetti, marshmallows and fruit pastels and told each “family” [a group formed of two mentors and a number of mentees] to build a structure.’

The scheme is so popular that the “parents” now have “grandparents”, third year students to help initiate them into their parental duties.

‘We might try brightly coloured jackets, to make the mentors really easy to spot in freshers week and to help promote the scheme to our other students.’

Caroline is currently planning feedback meetings, where students will be able to raise any pitfalls or benefits of the scheme.

‘Then it’s already looking forward to January, where we will start contacting this year’s first years to see if they want to parent next year’s students.’

Do you need help or advice about Peer Mentoring? Contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk.

Claire Burnham – Peer Mentoring

In light of the growing success of the University’s peer mentoring programme, Newcastle has appointed a new co-coordinator for the scheme, based in LTDS.

Claire Burnham began her new role in August and is already involved in helping to support the scheme more widely across the University.

She said: ‘I’m really looking forward to getting going with the programme. It’s going to be very exciting meeting the new mentors and helping to deliver some of the training.’

The programme trains and supports second and third year students to offer help and advice to first years as they begin their studies.

Each mentor works with a group of students in his or her school and a coordinator in their school or unit supervises the project and acts as a point of contact for mentors needing extra support or advice.

A Newcastle alumnus, with a degree in Psychology, Claire is very aware of the importance of getting it right in helping students to transition between school and higher education.

She said: ‘It’s such a great way of supporting students in making the transition to University, having a mentor who has already been through it and can offer support and advice.’

The programme offers full training to all mentors, equipping them with the skills to help new students but also with transferrable skills which will help them to enter the world of work.

As well as arranging and supporting training for peer mentors across the University, Claire is also responsible for making sure that the mentor’s achievements are celebrated.

She said: ‘We will be running, as we have done in previous years, awards for the best mentor in each faculty as nominated by their mentees.’

The awards get presented in a special event to be held at the Great North Museum: Hancock Museum on 5 December.

‘There is also an award for the best coordinator. So the event marks a great chance for mentors and coordinators to get together and celebrate a good job well done.’

If you would like help with training and supporting student mentors in your school or have any questions about the Peer Mentoring Scheme, you can email Claire on claire.burnham@ncl.ac.uk.

Do you have a particularly novel approach to Peer Mentoring School? Get in touch with us on ltds@ncl.ac.uk and tell us about it.