What it is
The Student Peer Advising programme was set up by David Wheeler, Course Leader in Advertising, Film and Music Video Production at Staffordshire University.
The programme supports first year students in finding their feet at university; students find themselves in a new environment, making new friends, getting to grips with their degree and learning in new ways. The programme focuses on providing pastoral, academic and social support and is run and delivered by second year students.
How it works
It runs over the first semester, and is part of the timetable. There are five sessions for students to attend and these are run in small groups, with two peer advisors (second year students) facilitating each group. The sessions are run as action learning sets which gives an opportunity for everyone to share their experiences, offer support and seek solutions.
Why it works
- First year students have the support of those that have been in their shoes;
- They can find answers to questions in a supportive and informal way;
- The sessions develop a sense of sharing and seeking solutions collectively;
- The process encourages individuals to make choices and take action;
- It builds a strong sense of community;
- Second year peer advisors volunteer to take part in the scheme; they get a strong sense of satisfaction from giving something back and the role supports them in developing their own communication and facilitation skills – key attributes for the film and production industry.
It is very encouraging to see the undoubted success of the scheme:
‘We have more than enough volunteers for training to become peer advisors next year, (as they benefited so much from the scheme this year, and want to give something back). Students have suggested that the scheme runs, not only in semester one, but also continues through semester two, such is the benefit they feel they get from the scheme. Staff are convinced that the emotional, personal and academic support for new students, in their challenging first semester at university, makes a significant difference to the student experience and their sense of belonging to the course. At a recent mini-conference of academics in the field of media there was a great deal of interest in the scheme when they heard a short presentation about it’
David Wheeler, Course Leader in Advertising, Film and Music Video Production at Staffordshire University.