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Increasing Sense of Belonging at LBU

Find out what Jess has been up to to help improve student belonging at LBU.

Academic Representation
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Following on from the previous semester, my predominant focus has been on implementing the peer mentoring programme, also referred to as the ‘buddy system’ in my previous report. I have worked closely with others in the Student Union to begin putting the idea into action. This system focused on assisting first-year students' integration into university life, by pairing them up with an older student. The aim is to provide those that feel they are potentially struggling with adjusting to university life with a peer to connect with and share their experiences, which in turn we hope will also decrease dropout rates. Additionally, after meetings with my peers, the programme now includes an opportunity for students to connect with a peer that is external to Leeds Beckett University, which could include a future employer. Following the research I conducted in semester one, we have created the necessary training for both mentors and mentees highlighting the benefits of joining the programme, such as improving their transferable key skills required for future employment and the ability for mentors to log their time as volunteer work, which would improve their CV’s. This programme started off as an Idea of mine in September 2023 and after joining a team and incorporating our ideas collectively, the project has become much more large scale than I first imagined, I look forward to seeing its success after its implementation in September 2024.

I have also continued to work with the Leeds Law School. After the house meeting I conducted in semester one, I worked with course reps and academic staff to suggest solutions to the students' concerns. An action plan was created to implement these changes and in semester two these changes began to take place, which included academic advisor sessions being run as hybrid, a full list of academics practise areas. The proposed changes and the action taken by the Leeds Law School can be found online. The feedback following on from these changes has been positive, students stated that they feel as though their concerns have been listened to and the necessary actions have been taken to assist them in their learning and development. 

Overall, working as a Student Academic Representation Assistant over the past year has given me a chance to advocate on behalf of students, built my confidence but most importantly I feel as though I have positively improved the student experience.