17 June 2011
Supporting Keele Students through Transition
A small team made up of staff from across the Institution met this week to commence a project aimed at exploring how students experience and could be better supported through the many transitions they make throughout their student journey...the catchy and perhaps predictable title for the group being 'Student Transitions'. Transitions (plural) is a term that has fast become part of the everyday language of academic and administrative staff alike. We talk about students moving through transition as if they are passing through an x-ray machine at the airport. Is though, it really that straightforward? Can we foresee the challenges that students will encounter and have to overcome to be successfull in their educational experience? Can we also predict and therefore put in place appropriate measures and support in order that our students pass seamlessly from our campus and into what awaits them on the other side of that transition?
These questions were a starting point to discussions which we hope will lead to us providing our students with the opportunity to successfully negotiate the challenges that they may be faced with whilst at the same time supporting them to better understand what is happening as they move through that potentially challenging transition.
Work in this area has moved at pace in the UK. Many Universities are now employing 'Transitions' teams, there are Student transitions conferences...I even have a pen that says Student Transition on it! In North America the term is far more established with theory relating to student transition informing curriculum development, programming and student support - http://www.sc.edu/fye/
The first stage of the project will require the team to gain a greater understanding of what the initial transition INTO Keele feels like for our students (and our student supporters) and how it is encountered, experienced and overcome by our, be they Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Mature Students, from the local area, repeating the year etc. From that point it is anticipated that the very many transitions and the varied experiences of our students will be explored in great detail in order that we are able to better develop services that support all of our students.
We will endeavor to keep our colleagues aware of the work we are doing but welcome any feedback in regard to this work through this blog. Your experiences and thoughts would be most welcome and really valued by the team. Alternatively please feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Team: Ian Munton, Sarah Traylor, John Easom, Kylie Hazeldine, Simone Clarke, Sam Higham, Rebecca Leach, Katherine Haxton, Verity Aiken and Jenny Smith.