Category Archives: Student Support

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.

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.

Essay Mills and Contract Cheating

Wednesday 18th October 2017 marks the second International Day of Action against Contract Cheating, promoted by the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI).

Contract cheating occurs when one person completes academic work, such as an essay, assignment, test or exam, for another who then submits it for academic credit. This behaviour undermines academic standards and devalues the qualifications of those who do not cheat.

In 2016, in response to serious concerns among higher education providers and from government, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) published a report on the growing threat of third parties helping students to cheat, known as custom essay writing services, or ‘essay mills’. Following this, QAA has now this month published guidance for students and universities on tackling this problem and promoting academic integrity in higher education. It sets out the steps that universities can take to deal with forms of contract cheating, and recommends:

  • clear information for students on the risks of cheating, including academic misconduct being reported to relevant professional bodies
  • support for students to develop independent study skills, including academic writing
  • using a range of assessment methods to limit opportunities for cheating
  • blocking essay mill sites and taking action against essay mill advertising on campus
  • smarter detection, including new software and greater familiarity with students’ personal styles and capabilities
  • appropriate support for whistle blowing – to protect accuser as well as accused
  • student involvement on academic misconduct policies and panels.

Newcastle University is committed to defending academic integrity and freedom, and will be considering how best to take account of this guidance within its own policies and procedures.

The International Center for Academic Integrity has published an institutional toolkit against contract cheating that can be downloaded here.

Information for Senior and Personal Tutors

The University’s Framework for Personal Tutoring has been updated following the approval of revised meeting arrangements by University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee in July. With effect from the start of the 2017-18 academic year, tutors should record the first meeting that is offered and those that have taken place for undergraduate students. For taught postgraduate students, tutors should record the offer of meetings in ePortfolio. If tutorial meetings do not take place, reasons why not should also be recorded.

We have clarified what should happen if meetings do not take place. If a tutor offers a meeting within ePortfolio using meeting slots, but a student chooses not to pick a time to meet with the tutor, this should be regarded as sufficient reason why the meeting has not taken place. Only if a meeting slot is not created by the tutor within ePortfolio should a reason be recorded elsewhere why a meeting has not taken place.

We have distributed to Senior Tutors a new version of the briefing slides for Senior Tutors to discuss with Personal Tutors in their School or subject area. The slides provide information which will hopefully be helpful for ensuring that Senior and Personal Tutors are familiar with University expectations. They also provide advice on how to find and signpost further support.

Additional resources for tutors have also been brought up to date and can be found on our website.

The Senior Tutors Discussion Forum will continue to meet on a quarterly basis beginning in October.  A Role of the Senior Tutor Training Workshop will also be held twice this coming academic year.

If you have any questions or can suggest examples of effective practice in personal tutoring, please contact LTDS.