• A partnership approach to student mentoring

      Jinks, Gavin; University of Derby (International Forum for Peer Learning, 2019-06)
      In 2015 as Year 1 Tutor on the BA Applied Social Work I initiated a student mentoring project with the aim of increasing the support to Year 1 students. In that first year I recruited 5 student mentors from Years 2 and 3 to support incoming Year 1 students. Fast forward to 2018 and the project has grown very significantly. There are now 42 mentors, they are Year 2 and Year 3 students with a handful of graduates now in employment. Mentoring is now offered to students on all 3 years of the programme. The mentor support has a number of strands to it: A Facebook group for each of the 3 years of the programme. The Facebook group for each year has mentors from the year above so that students can raise questions and queries with peers who have the ‘been there, done that’ factor. The Facebook groups are not overseen by academic staff. This highlights a fundamental element of the project, that mentors are trusted to undertake the role. The Year 1 Facebook group is set up in the summer before their studies commence. Induction for Year 1 and Year 2 students is largely run by mentors. The mentors create activities and presentations for mentees on a range of topics. Again the mentors are trusted to prepare and present these presentations without academic interference. All Year 1 and Year 2 students have a named mentor who they can contact for guidance when they would like to talk to a peer rather than a tutor. Students who have been very successful in module assessments are invited to give guidance to students undertaking those modules the following year. All decision are made between myself and the mentors. The project won a Union of Students award in 2018.