Tag Archives: student wellbeing

3 Rivers Regional Learning and Teaching Conference 2019

‘Embedding Student and Staff Well-Being in the  Curriculum’

Calman Learning Centre, Durham University
10 September 2019

The call for papers and registration for the 2019 3 Rivers Regional learning and teaching conference is now open.

Building upon the success of previous partnership events held by the region’s Universities (Teesside, Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland and Northumbria), our theme for 2019 is ‘Embedding Student and Staff Well-Being in the  Curriculum’.

Contributions are welcomed on this and any other learning and teaching initiatives in higher-education in the format of either a 15 minute talk or a Show a Tell, where you can demonstrate a new learning and teaching initiative over coffee to the delegates. The event will be hosted by Durham’s Centre for Academic Development in the Calman Learning Centre.

Further details on the conference, including the keynote, registration and submitting a presentation proposal are available via the conference website here https://3riversnortheast.wordpress.com/

Note the call for papers closes on 15th March 2019 at 1pm, and registration will close on 19th April 2019. If you have any further queries or questions, please contact acad.dev@durham.ac.uk

Peer Mentoring Thank You Event 2018

Peer Mentoring Thank You Event 2018

Peer mentors from across the University gathered at the Lindisfarne Room on Monday 26 November 2018 to celebrate another successful year of the peer mentoring scheme.

Peer Mentors and Staff Coordinators were invited to this celebration as a thank you from the University following another excellent start to the academic year with new students being supported and encouraged as they started their journey on their chosen programme of study and made the transition into Higher Education. These students (the mentees) were invited to provide their opinion of the scheme and to share the many benefits they had experienced as a result of having a peer mentor:

“Explained clearly what it was like from a student perspective and what I should expect to know and learn and how to do so.”

Continue reading Peer Mentoring Thank You Event 2018

UKAT Annual Conference – Blog 1 – Keynote Speaker

Keynote: The case for collaborative care – Brett McFarlane  University of California – Davis

This discussed what is the true meaning of student success (is this retention rates or individual achievement), and how there should be Collaboration – work jointly on an activity or project; and Care – a provision of what is necessary; as well as considered attention and consideration to avoid damage or risk.

True collaboration: is based on shared ownership and vision, as well as shared resources. This should be based on the goals and outcomes of what the student wants to achieve – ‘theirs’ rather than the ‘institutional’ goals and outcomes allowing graduates to be happy with their experience. This will also support the improvement of social mobility and the achievement gap.

Research tells us: that relationships matter; that the frequency of advising matters – with the aim of improved satisfaction and learning; students need ‘cultural navigators’ – hidden curriculum, advice on who to see for what, the avoidance of assumption of what students ‘might’ or ‘should’ know, to enlighten students; and the connections with learning .

Barriers: These include a lack of agreement in what student success means; that nobody wants to ‘own’ student success; there is a failure to utilise prior research and literature; some institutions have a lack of formal training structures; and that there are some disaggregated and outdated technology systems

Moving forward: There is a need to consider process mapping in regards to what does the student actually need; some work is needed with function mapping and the definition of the staff involved and what their role is in the process; there is a need for a single shared communication structure to clearly articulate the student journey for ‘all’ to access; an obvious need for collaborative goals and outcomes that benefit the student, and in the long term the institution. We need to focus on building trust, involving students,  and to celebrate success. Continue reading UKAT Annual Conference – Blog 1 – Keynote Speaker

STAR CASE STUDY: Transition Officer in School of Computing Science

Laura Heels graduated from Computer Science at Newcastle in 2013 and now helps other students in the school to negotiate undergraduate study.

As Transitions Officer, Laura provides support across the board, from assisting with practicals and study skills to providing a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Working with other staff, such as the Senior Tutor Marie Devlin and Nick Cook, Laura is the first port of call for many first years struggling with the adjustment from School to University and even from another country to the UK.

Laura said ‘I was so lucky when I was here, and I wasn’t the most academic student, I received so much support from staff like Marie, Lindsay and Nick and now I’m able to provide that myself.

‘Because I’ve been through all this and, I think, because I’m closer to their age, I seem a bit more approachable.’

Laura provides a range of academic and pastoral support for the students running sessions to help students with elements of the course they find most difficult, or which present the biggest departure from the subjects they studied at school.

‘We wanted to address the retention rate in the School and had found in previous years that a great many students were dropping out before the first year exams because they were struggling with programming or with the maths elements of the course.

‘I now run a weekly session to help students with their programming skills, which is something that many of them haven’t done before, and I also give them practical help with maths and with writing skills as well.

‘I’m present in all of their practical sessions too, so they know they will see me and can ask me questions or arrange a meeting if they need a chat.’

Laura had some problems herself as an undergraduate in the School: ‘I’m not really very academic, in my own stage 1 at university I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which made university very tricky for me.

‘So I’m very well-versed in the sort of problems students face. Often I refer the students on to student wellbeing, but I am the first port of call for them if they have a problem.’

As well as her academic and pastoral duties, Laura also works in widening participation, going out to Schools to talk to students about studying Computer Science at Newcastle.

Of course, Laura’s busiest time is Welcome Week and she likes to run some social events to help the students meet staff in a less formal setting:

‘We go bowling, to Lane 7 and staff come along if they can, last year the Head of School came and it was just nice for students to interact socially with the people teaching them.’

Laura’s position has really benefitted the School. In a questionnaire circulated last year 100% of students said that they felt welcome when they joined the School, 100% said that they had had positive contact with Laura.

Laura said: ‘I do think that having someone like me would benefit Schools across the University, even just helping academic staff with organising things like summer schools, welcome weeks and visit days, all of which I do here.

‘To be honest, if they did, I’d want to help train them, I’ve learned so much since I started.’

Is there an example of innovative or good practice in teaching in your school? Email Katherine.cooper@ncl.ac.uk. For this and to read about other great teaching ideas have a look at our case studies database.