Hot off the back of the European First Year Experience conference, we were fortunate to have Prof Mary Stuart Hunter visit Birmingham City University’s Centre for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching to share her wealth of experience in working within the University 101 environment. This offered a really exciting opportunity to be able to present our activities as a part of the What Works 2013-15 initiative to Stuart-Hunter at the site of all our creative action.
As Associate Vice President and Executive Director of the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition, Stuart Hunter had a lot to offer us as we embark on our extended adventure in the embedding of support and provision for the ongoing development of our student transitions across Birmingham City University. Here the University 101 programme, as advocated by Stuart Hunter offered us as a means by which to integrate some of those extended skills more fluidly into the academic curriculum. This offers a means of enhancing our students’ academic skills, whilst facilitating in the development of stronger relationships with their peers, and enhancing their relationships with members of school teaching staff, as well as our administrative and support staff.
Since joining the What Works programme back in 2013, we have come a long way. Our initial plans within the School of Media have stretched far beyond the friendly welcome to the School that we had anticipated. Instead this intervention has become a holistic approach which addresses not only our students’ personal and academic transition, but is one which is managed by a team of peer supporters in the form of our Level Up Mentors, who are senior students of the course. In turn these mentors are now managed by our Student Success Adviser, Jamie Morris, who is a paid member of staff, and recent graduate of the course.
The Level Up Summer transition programme has now developed to incorporate pre-entry academic assessment, early personal tutor meetings, social activities, active inductions and explorations of the city, within the first weeks of study. We have since gone on to build extended workshop activity into the fabric of the course, and spent Summer 2014 revising our Induction plans alongside our team of Level Up Mentors (or LUVMs as we have affectionately come to know them!).
Our presentation for Stuart Hunter featured a snapshot of our activities to date across the Schools of English, Media, Health and Built Environment. Our presentation from the School of Media can be viewed below: