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Mentoring Students from University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus

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1 Mentoring Students from University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus
Dr Nick Thomas Department of History

2 The Challenge Degree in International Studies at Ningbo since its foundation History is lead department in partnership with Politics Four year degree – one year of language, then three years of academic study

3 In second year of academic study students can choose to visit UK campus, usually for a Semester
They take second year options alongside home students 83 students in ??? In

4 Quickly became clear Ningbo students were struggling
Not integrating into seminars Language and cultural barriers Not accessing academic or pastoral support

5 Each student from Ningbo given a personal tutor: two UNNC Liaison Officers
Induction session run specifically for them on arrival Extensive pastoral support system in the department Gateway to wider support systems elsewhere in the University

6 Yet do they know what a personal tutor is?
What are their assumptions about pastoral support? What are they expecting from us and from being here?

7 Further issues Two campuses on different sides of the world
Colleagues who have never met Assumptions by both sides on curriculum, induction, advice, support, etc provided on each campus Desire to work more closely

8 Mentoring system Introduced 2010-11
Groups of 4 Ningbo students allocated to a mentor All mentors are student volunteers from second and third years There is a vetting system in place

9 Students can link mentoring to the Nottingham Advantage Award
Training sessions provided Desire among many home students to make contact with international students Light touch to supervision of the process

10 Negatives: Some groups don’t gel or the mentor loses interest
Some Ningbo students want friendship to be very intense Social events don’t really work – very different expectations, home students don’t attend

11 Positives: Ningbo students like having a contact who is a student
Some groups work very well indeed – socialise, make regular contact, etc Sense of integrating students into the life of the department More to be done?

12 Investigations Desire to explore student experiences, find out what we do well, what we can change Carole Mallia’s research on Ningbo Senior Tutor Network funding

13 Findings Culture shock: Britain is not what they expected, feeling of exclusion, Ningbo students group together Academics seen as authority figures: mentoring scheme helps to bridge gap

14 Concerns before arriving:
Food, sex, the weather, accommodation, safety, British drinking culture Will they be at a disadvantage? How will they be perceived?

15 Language: e-mail is preferred communication as a result
Students often visit academics in pairs English is non-inflected English is full of smoke screens/ diplomacy

16 Chinese universities don’t run personal tutoring or mentoring systems
System of appointments in advance is alien – again mentoring system helps here

17 Chinese students tend to wait to be approached, whether socially, personal tutors or mentors – very rarely ‘break the ice’ themselves Making something voluntary or saying ‘it would be a good idea’ means they usually don’t do it

18 Instrumentalisation:
Does it impact on my marks? If not I won’t do it Impact on mentoring and pastoral care

19 Possible solutions Dividing Ningbo students between personal tutees
Advice guide for staff and mentors Focussed training for mentors and tutors Mentoring scheme for all students, home and international

20 Conclusions Very much feeling our way through this situation – there is no plan! Desire to avoid essentialisation – deal with individuals International students have particular needs, but good practice for them often benefits others - inclusivity

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