Supporting students as they transition from school to university – a report from a CEL Learning and Teaching Fellow

Camila Devis-Rozental was awarded a CEL Learning and Teaching Fellowship in 2017-18 and used it to develop her student-focused project: Mind the gap – supporting students to successful transition from school to university: Current practice and future possibilities. She reports below on the first stage of this project:

Last year, I was fortunate enough to receive a CEL Learning and Teaching Fellowship to carry out some research around the transition of students from school to university and some areas of socio-emotional intelligence (SEI). This, I felt, was an important topic to look at especially since this transition from school to university has long been seen as a complex time of change in students’ lives. In the UK students going to university traditionally leave home and have to learn to deal with many new and difficult situations they have not come across previously. In order to evaluate the current provision within our induction process and to identify possible improvement, I carried out a small scale project seeking the views of students and staff within Bournemouth University.

In the first part of the project I organised a symposium for staff where students would present their experiences of this transition in a variety of formats. Students who presented, whilst identifying the emotionally complex transition or ‘jump’ from school to university, reported settling well and having a lot of support university-wide, which is very encouraging. Clearly BU has a wealth of initiatives and strategies to support students. Within the symposium participants (students and staff) were asked to identify the perfect ‘host’ to support students in this transition. The list of attributes and qualities included:

The perfect host is:
Friendly

Empathic

Understanding

Personal experience of overcoming challenge

Good listener

Focused

Caring

 

Inspirational

Organised

Proactive

Resourceful

Sense of humour

Warm

Flexible

Relatable

Self-aware

Motivational

Mindful

Dynamic

Knowledgeable

Skilled facilitator

Relatable to the students

Confident not intimidating

Fun

Calm

 

Clearly, it is very difficult for one person to be all of those things all of the time. Therefore, we concluded that teams were vital for delivering an excellent student experience during the induction period. This was congruent with the BU2025 Vision and Values around enhanced and supported team work to deliver a great student experiences – and there has been clear improvement in the provision, guidance and support that BU has rolled out for new students, which is fantastic!

[Camila Devis-Rozental December 2018]

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