Find out what Jessica has been up to in Semester One and how you can get involved with her work during semester two.
This semester I began with numerous training meetings, which have assisted my development and capability of my role. These workshops predominantly focused on how to engage students and how to effectively communicate and collate information to improve the student experience. As a SARA, my role is based on students' academic experience; this semester I worked closely with the Leeds Law School to listen to students and assist course representatives implement necessary changes. I have planned house meetings designed to gather this necessary information. At the first house meeting in semester one we discussed feedback from the Leeds Law school student survey. The main points raised were discussed and solutions to each issue were proposed by the attendees. These points were in relation to the drop-in sessions, academic advisors, and lecture content. All these issues were collated into a document and the academic staff have now produced an action plan, which is available online, for each issue that will be implemented in semester 2. Additionally, I chaired the Leeds Law school forum. The content was catered to Leeds Beckett services like the library and students' union. The feedback received on the issues was generally positive. However, many students in attendance did not know what the student union does other than it has a bar.
Proposed Peer Support Initiative
This semester I have also been working on what initally started as an individual project. I felt and others I had spoken to felt that the university would benefit from a ‘buddy system’. This would be a project that pairs a first-year student up with a second or third year student. This system's aim was to help integrate first-year students into the university, which would then decrease dropout rates.
Initally my project was aimed predominantly at those who struggled with poor mental health as research has shown this is the main cause for university dropout rates. I conducted research looking at other universities mental health assistance and whether a similar project was available at those establishments. My research concluded that there was a similar system offered online but it was not run or moderated by the university.
I then made the decision to open the project to any student and those with mental health can declare it on the form and can be partnered up with those with a similar condition. To help my understanding of what Leeds Beckett offered, I attended the PeerTalk session at Headingly campus, which I found beneficial towards my understanding. There were others in the student's union that were working on similar projects but looking at different aspects of a support system, we have now decided to work together to create one project that incorporates all these elements and by joining together we hope this will make the project significantly more effective. We will be starting to implement and advertise this opportunity in semester 2.
If you would like to contact me about any of the work I am doing, you can email me at: email@example.com