310 - Cross institutional collaboration to enhance student transition


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  • Christine – initial hello and welcome – introduce themselves Sally – how and why
  • Christine
  • Christine What do they think are the three most important things to students at the start of the year, in broad terms? How does cross-institutional collaboration (or lack of) impact on students? – maybe as plenary question following feedback?
  • Sally Influence of Tinto ’ s developmental approach, focussing on “ fit ” between student and institution, the importance of social and academic, formal and informal integration.
  • Sally Earwaker – transition as “ exchange ” , discontinuity – may be a gamble, with high stakes. Transitions students are going through: financial, career, cultural or inter-cultural, social, academic
  • Sally NB Earwaker (1992:98) – “ the functions of prevention and cure will tend to line up with the division of provision into integrated and ancillary. ”
  • Sally Need for cross-institutional working, to develop a holistic approach, and sense of ‘ community ’ (Thomas et al 2002) Are we the kinds of institutions students want to belong to?
  • Sally – the importance of cross-institutional collaboration from an academic point of view. NB the centrality of tutors and impact of teaching & learning experience on students and on attrition (Yorke & Longden 2008, Thomas 2008, Thomas & May 2011, Weaver 2008). Earwaker on “ front-line ” role of tutors, misleading to say that specialist services are provided “ centrally ” . If students are going to access available support in the insttn. – their tutors have a key role in working with supp. services, knowing about support services etc. Christine – the importance of cross-institutional collaboration from a student services point of view. Marr & Aynsley-Smith (2006) on the value but also the problems of centrally managed and located student services: student/staff unawareness, lack of visibility / immediacy, practical and/or psych. Barriers for students accessing them, staff inadequately aware of referral mechanisms, minimal scope for discreet intervention in mass student market. (p.76)
  • Quick & descriptive – the issues for our institutions Christine – Internatlistn. & heterogeneity Sally – WP etc. Issues about integration and socialization – promotion of peer support and student networking which doesn ’ t  ghettoisation
  • LSE Students - Christine Highly motivated and demanding Don ’ t want to waste any time Take up opportunities, attend events Confident and driven GRE Students - Sally Many need support and/or sts lacking in confidence Retention BOTH - ~Sally Commuter students – being a student only one part of their life Time issues – paid work, family & other commitments
  • Christine : Quick point about this pattern in common – LSE and GRE – Greenwich more of a move to the centre going on, some shift.
  • Sally : diff. cultures at Greenwich of campuses, Schools, Depts., programmes. Spectrum including the don ’ t spoon feed etc. Shift in culture/s : - based on staff experience, recognition of students ’ experience - fed by concerns with retention and progression Masters students – Christine Question What about you? Ask for quick feedback/shout- out, do you recognise your institutions in these descriptions?
  • Examples Christine : Both have variations on one-stop shop, integrated models of student services (as in Thomas et al. 2002:25ff) - seen at (Gre + LSE?) Both have had a project – student services and other mediating offices/staff – which have helped to close the gap. Central units bringing other staff together. LSE – Orientation project started in 2009, cross School workshop, training events, picked Depts to work with Sally Greenwich – enhanced induction project 2007-2011, feeding into new policy 2011. OSA-led, with specific remit for devt. of cross-institutional policy, practices and collaboration. Significant shifts in terms of focus and prioritization of transition/induction, and in terms of cross-institutional collaboration, knowledge and sharing of practice.
  • Sally : What has worked – Both institutions – success thro ’ : recog. of Schools as the students ’ primary home – “ belonging ” – and designated academic staff responsibility in Schools Student Services cross-insttl responsibilities – eg. - work on range of freshers activities incl. internat. orientation, and refreshers / re-orientation activities mid- term or later - collaborative workshops, working with depts/Schools - cross-institutional work on pre-arrival ctn. and info. working with/through intermediate roles – EDU (Gre) – Teaching Lng Centre (LSE) – who working with Schools and cross-insttlly on projects working with students ’ unions policy and reporting GRE - Sally – policy & reporting; cross-institutional committees, practitioners groups and working parties; New Arrivals coordinators in Schools; bridging/taster days; LSE – Christine - Teaching from Teaching and Learning Centre about the LSE methods - Particularly useful for those from overseas used to different learning styles
  • Christine Activity Post-it notes, 2 colours : inhibitors and facilitators of cross-institutional collaboration – then stick on flip charts/paper on walls (paper, blue tac, post-its) Template to complete
  • Both 10 years to get it right? But do we have that long? Flexibility – not being restricted by rigidly defined roles; recognising local differences and need for a range of models/strategies (ie not one size fits all) Benefits of collaboration – sharing skill-sets / expertise, motivation and momentum, Our conclusions – different universities? Not really!
  • 310 - Cross institutional collaboration to enhance student transition

    1. 1. Cross Institutional collaboration to enhance student transition Christine Child, LSE, Head of the Student Services Centre Dr Sally Alsford, University of Greenwich, Senior Lecturer in Learning and Teaching
    2. 2. Our institutions
    3. 3. This session• Discussion - what matters to students• Cultures – institutional and student• Cross institutional collaboration• Discussion – sharing experiences, questions
    4. 4. What matters to students? What do you think are the top three things?• Money and registration, visas, the basics• Their course – modules, assessment, study department/course information  getting started on study• Social integration - other students & staff
    5. 5. Tinto, V (19932 : 240) Understanding Transition
    6. 6. Understanding transitionTinto – developmental & psychological understanding of transitionEarwaker (1992) – social & interactionist aspects of transitionThe importance of a sense of belonging (Yorke & Longden (2008), Cook & Rushton (2008), Yorke & Thomas (2003), May & Thomas (2010)
    7. 7. “Coordination of the efforts of faculty within andbetween departments, and among faculty and staff,academic and student affairs, should be the norm, notthe exception, of institutional action. Institutional actionmust be such as to enable individuals to transverse, in acollaborative fashion, the intra-institutional boundariesof campus life that typically separate individuals fromeach other…. Rather than working at odds, academicand student affairs must come to see themselves asworking together, much like medical teams do, on behalfof student retention and the personal development itentails.” (Tinto 19932: 151 – our emphasis)
    8. 8. Collaboration• Student experience is holistic and complex “ (students’) needs are rarely neatly separable. For instance, personal anxieties, career choices and intellectual difficulties may often be tangled up together. In fact, the chances are that they will be.” Earwaker (1992 : 129)
    9. 9. Collaboration• From the academic point of view• From the support services point of view“ The structure of higher education is changing and as such it is no longer possible to treat support services as an add-on extra, as something apart from the main institution. Instead, with widening participation and retention, it is important to build up strong working relations across the institution, with other student services and administration, academic departments, teaching and learning strategies, staff development and induction, widening participation activities and the Students Union, to create a strategic approach.” Thomas et al (2002:15)
    10. 10. Student Cultures - diversity• Internationalisation• Heterogeneity of students• Heterogeneity of groups of students• Impact of WP• Massification• How can we address this?
    11. 11. Student cultures – confidence and commitments• Motivation, engagement and confidence• Commitment• Time issues• Commuter students
    12. 12. Institutional Cultures• Autonomy of Departments/Schools fiercely defended - don’t tell Departments/Schools what to do• Leadership - don’t impose demands on Departments
    13. 13. Institutional Cultures• Diversity and consistency• Don’t spoon feed/sink or swim• Shift in culture• Masters students
    14. 14. Cross institutional collaborationWhat do Schools and Student Services knowabout each other?• Cross institutional organisation and communication at senior level• Silo practices and culture• Closing gaps in relation to transition
    15. 15. Cross institutional collaboration in practice• Schools’ responsibilities – designated staff responsibility• Schools as the student’s home• Student Services responsibilities• Students’ Unions• Policy and reporting
    16. 16. DiscussionQuick concrete examples of what has worked atyour institution :•What facilitates and stimulates cross-institutional collaboration? Facilitators•What are the inhibitors? InhibitorsCan we use your feedback?
    17. 17. Inhibitors Facilitators
    18. 18. Conclusions• Timescales – be realistic, invest time• Identify and work with key people – champions, intermediaries• Build relationships & networks• Be flexible Collaboration across the institution makes improvements easier and more sustainable LSE and Greenwich – many issues in common
    19. 19. REFERENCES• Earwaker, J (1992), Helping and Supporting Students, SRHE & Open University Press• Lee, B & Robinson (2006), “A Creating a network of student support”, in Thomas & Hixenbaugh (2006).• Marr, L & Aynsley-Smith, S, “Putting students first: developing accessible and integrated support”, in Thomas & Hixenbaugh (2006).• Roberts, @ & Steward, J “Towards the holistic university: working collaboratively for student learning”, in Weaver, M (2008).• Thomas, L, Quinn, J, Slack K, Casey, L (2002) Student Services: Effective Approaches to Retaining Students in Higher Education. Full Research Report. Institute for Access Studies, Staffordshire University.• Thomas, L & Hixenbaugh, P (2006) eds. Personal tutoring in higher education, Trentham Books.• Thomas (2002), “Student retention in higher education: the role of institutional Habitus” Journal of Education Policy Vol.17 No.4 :423-442• Thomas & May (2011) “Student engagement to improve retention and success” in Thomas, L & Jamieson-Ball, C eds. Engaging students to improve student retention and success in higher education in Wales, HEA.• Tinto, V (19932), Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition, Univ. of Chicago• Universities UK(UUK) (2002) Student Services. Effective approaches to retaining students in higher education. UUK• Weaver, M Ed. (2008) Transformative Learning Support Models in Higher Education, Facet• Yorke, M & Longden, B (2008), The first year experience of higher education in the UK. York: The Higher Education Academy. Available at: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/resources/publications/FYEFinalReportSally Alsford s.e.alsford@gre.ac.uk Christine Child c.child@lse.ac.uk