29 Nov 2013
The Partnership Office at the University of Bedfordshire runs a scheme whereby Associates (current students who are paid for their time) work with schools and colleges to raise the aspirations of local students.
In 2012-13 the University of Bedfordshire piloted a new approach which combined outreach and aspiration raising for access students in schools and colleges with a focus on academic skills promotion. This was intended to help address the fact that incoming university students do not universally make the most of the academic skills learning development opportunities that are provided by universities, with consequences for retention and student success.
The University of Bedfordshire piloted optional Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training for Associates via workshops and work shadowing of staff in the Professional and Academic Development team who work in the academic skills drop-in centre. Associates also participated in the provision of drop-in academic skills support for new students entering the University of Bedfordshire.
Initially, six Associates participated and all reported that they felt better prepared to promote the value of academic skills to school and college students. The Associates also reported that their own academic skills had been enhanced as a result of participating in the CPD offered, in turn increasing their own success. The University of Bedfordshire plans to expand the Associate CPD scheme in the 2013-14 academic year and undertake further evaluation of the effectiveness of the scheme in the future.