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The Transition+ Approach to Peer Mentoring – A Route to Student Success Dr Jane Andrews & Dr Robin Clark Engineering Education Research Group

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Presentation on theme: "The Transition+ Approach to Peer Mentoring – A Route to Student Success Dr Jane Andrews & Dr Robin Clark Engineering Education Research Group"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Transition+ Approach to Peer Mentoring – A Route to Student Success Dr Jane Andrews & Dr Robin Clark Engineering Education Research Group

2 London Metropolitan University Sheffield University Aston University Bangor University Liverpool Hope University Research Partners Research through Partnership Oslo

3 Methodology: What we did & How we did it … Multiple case-study design Mixed methodological approach  Mapping of activity: Content analysis  Literature review  Pilot survey  Survey  Interviews  Focus groups  Observations

4 Sample & Methodological Tools Pilot Survey: 302 students in 5 HEIs Aston: Bangor: Sheffield: Liverpool Hope: LMU Main Survey: 374 students in 3 HEIs Aston: Bangor: Sheffield Qualitative Interviews & Focus Groups: 97 students; 4 HEIs -Aston: Bangor: Oslo: Sheffield: 61 students – 32 peer mentors, 29 peer mentees -Mixture of ‘transitional and pastoral peer mentors and mentees’ -Writing Peer Mentors and Mentees: 36 students – 16 Writing Peer Mentors, 20 Peer Mentees. Observations: Observational Framework developed from first two phases of research. - Over 300 students in 1 HEI over three days – transitional mentoring in action.

5 Mentoring Concepts / Theoretical Grounding Older, Wiser, More Experienced (Clutterbuck 1991) TRADITIONAL Role model (Moore and Amey, 1988) PEER Relationship between equals (Topping 2005) Developmental and mutually beneficial (Higgins and Kram 2001, Anderson and Boud 1996)

6 Types of mentoring programme identified at the beginning of the project Transitional Peer Mentoring Longer-term Pastoral Peer Mentoring Writing Peer- Mentoring (PASS) AstonAston: Liverpool Hope Opt-in University- wide Bangor Sheffield Aston also ran a transitional programme covering transitional mentoring Both Bangor & Sheffield universities transitional peer mentoring programmes incorporated elements of longer-term pastoral mentoring Opt-out: University-wide / School-Based London MetDiscipline-specific opt-in

7 “Transition+” Model of Peer Mentoring "TRANSITIONAL+“ PEER MENTORING A Solid Foundation for New Students: MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL INSTITUTIONALLY EMBEDDED PROGRAMME FEATURES OPT OUT - CAPTURE ALL NEW STUDENTS UNIVERSITY WIDE SCHOOL BASED PRE-TERM ALLOCATION MENTEE-CENTRIC DISCIPLINE FOCUS SHARING OF CONTACT DETAILS ACTIVITY MANAGEMENT 1 MENTOR – 3 TO 5 MENTEES FLEXIBILITY RECIPROCITY MENTOR PREPARATION RECRUITMENT TRAINING ON-GOING SUPPORT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT MATCHING UNDERSTANDING EMPATHY CONFIDENTIALITY REWARD AND RECOGNITION VOLUNTARY ACTIVITY ACCREDITION CELEBRATION OPPORTUNITY MENTORING FOCUS INITIAL SOCIAL SUPPORT EVOLVES TO CAPTURE ACADEMIC NEEDS AND ASPIRATIONS

8 TRANSITION+... My mentor was very helpful. She was full of understanding about my problems and my issues. She understood what it was like to be new in school and everything... She was at my level and able to help me... I needed a mentor because for me, even though I’ve been in the country for many years, I still feel like a stranger So I needed a mentor, so I joined. It’s fun and I meet people.... For me it was a safety net. I was new in school and it was good to know I had someone to work with and to ask questions... Belongingness

9 TRANSITION + Before University the thing that I was most worried about was making friends Relationship Building

10 The importance of relationship building… The Opportunity to develop a one-to-one relationship is an important part of peer mentoring…

11 TRANSITION + Flexibility Anyone that says they’re not scared is lying because there is that fear. Everyone has those giant fears of am I going to be liked, am I going to make friends, how am I going to feel living away from home… … you know… you’re afraid of everything, but you’ve got to grow up some time. In the first few days for me it was feeling out of it… I felt even more intimidated because being a mature student, I am forty-odd and they are all so young… they were all in groups and groups...

12 TRANSITION + Employability & Education …It has helped me a lot in applying for a placement both my having a mentor and being a mentor has broadened my CV and given me a wider range of things to discuss in interviews … you’re given a friend on the first day… … they’re trained to get on with you and put lots of effort into getting on with you. And if you don’t you can change peer guide, but ultimately you’re given somebody who is going to be your friend in those first few days.

13 Benefits of Mentoring for Mentors..

14 TRANSITION+ Managing Expectations … I think that the mentoring experience changed more than just my university experience, working so closely with people about issues that reflect their concerns and anxieties and the way they think and approach stressful situations is always very rewarding … in the first few weeks you don’t have friends on your course. Your mentor is someone to talk with, you feel relaxed actually. You can share with someone. It’s not only mentoring. It’s friendship.

15 Managing Mentoring Relationships: Mentees Perspectives …

16 TRANSITION+ Reciprocity Reasons for becoming a mentor.. I would have liked it if someone and met me and told me about the courses....like back at the first day of School, it would have been better for me if I had someone to talk to, to ask where is this, or how should I do this? That is why I became a mentor.... I thought it would be nice to help somebody who came in as a new student, just to get a hold of new things and might be … maybe I could help them to just get over it quicker

17 TRANSITION+ Academic – Social... For me it was good to have someone who could push me because I’m really bad at reading. It was very nice to have someone who had already been through the exam and could tell me that I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t read. You have to read... she pushed me. That was good....We normally met for just an hour because both are mothers. After class we met in a café, we talked for an hour then we had to go home and get our kids from the day care or school. We talked about our families as well as our school work...

18 Mentoring Focus - Moving Beyond Transition: Term 1 and beyond Participation in peer mentoring helped me make better use of the academic opportunities available at university [%]

19 Relationships, Responsibility, Reciprocity & Recognition, Relationships: Belongingness & Support Responsibility: Individual & Organisational Reciprocity: Relationships, Respect & Trust Recognition: Institutional, Vocational & Academic

20 The TRANSITION+ Approach to Peer Mentoring: Conclusions... 1.Mentees benefit from having a ‘friendly’ face at the University – someone who helps them get a ‘grip’ of the implicit ‘rules’ of the institution from a student perspective. 2.Mentors benefit greatly in terms of enhanced employability and transferable skills. 3.Institutions benefits from increased retention & success The most valuable asset we have as a Sector are our students. Students want to help other students. Peer Mentors can provide a unique pathway into the institution based upon their own experiences and insights.

21 “Transition+” Model of Peer Mentoring "TRANSITIONAL+“ PEER MENTORING A Solid Foundation for New Students: MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL INSTITUTIONALLY EMBEDDED PROGRAMME FEATURES OPT OUT - CAPTURE ALL NEW STUDENTS UNIVERSITY WIDE SCHOOL BASED PRE-TERM ALLOCATION MENTEE-CENTRIC DISCIPLINE FOCUS SHARING OF CONTACT DETAILS ACTIVITY MANAGEMENT 1 MENTOR – 3 TO 5 MENTEES FLEXIBILITY RECIPROCITY MENTOR PREPARATION RECRUITMENT TRAINING ON-GOING SUPPORT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT MATCHING UNDERSTANDING EMPATHY CONFIDENTIALITY REWARD AND RECOGNITION VOLUNTARY ACTIVITY ACCREDITION CELEBRATION OPPORTUNITY MENTORING FOCUS INITIAL SOCIAL SUPPORT EVOLVES TO CAPTURE ACADEMIC NEEDS AND ASPIRATIONS

22 Setting up a Peer Mentoring Programme Using TRANSITION+: Things to consider Issue / QuestionAnswerNotes Recruitment: In your HEI do you want to… Recruit in terms 2/3 or term 1 Use application forms: Ask for references: Interview students Dependent on scale of programme. What ‘checks and balances’ will you need Training Can you use / adapt available training materials How long should training last Who should training be aimed at Materials available from Aston. What model best suits you? Management Is opt-in or opt-out model most suitable School-based or centrally managed Discipline-specific or general All students – or selection? Aim of peer mentoring? Link to discipline?

23 Discussion Points What works for Newcastle? What doesn’t work so well How can Newcastle’s programme be developed? Is the Transition+ Model suitable for Newcastle? How do you view the purpose of Peer Mentoring Academic socialisation Relationship building

24 Presenter & Contact Details Robin Clark, Head of Learning and Teaching Development, School of Engineering & Applied Science, Aston University Dr Jane Andrews, Lecturer, MSc Programme Director, School of Engineering & Applied Science, Aston University Engineering Education Research Group,


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