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The University of Southampton

Peer advisor programme a successs2011

Published: 15 December 2011

The introduction of Peer advisors for new postgraduate taught students within Engineering and the Environment has provided to be a huge success. This initiative was only possible with the support of the University’s Student Transition Project.

Fazil Ahmed and Yue Wu, both MSc graduates from Engineering and the Environment, were employed from the end of September as peer advisors. They have provided a totally new level of support and advice to our new postgraduate taught students over the last few months.

Fazil and Yue were on the panel for the faculty international student welcome day on September 23rd . This enabled them to introduce themselves and to answer the student orientated questions.

They have set up a number of support mechanisms to help the new students as they settle in  including: regular coffee mornings, an dedicated email account for students to send any problems of queries through to, a Facebook group where students could find out about forthcoming events, or raise any issues they might be having. The Facebook page has also been used as a tool for carrying out surveys.

Any problems that have been reported have been addressed by Fazil and Yue in conjunction with staff.

In addition to providing support and advice, Fazil and Yue have also set up a number of training workshops and excursions including: a referencing workshop delivered by academic librarian staff, presentations from recent MSc students sharing their experiences of their research projects, a visit to an employer, an Indian and Chinese buffet night and a trip to Windsor Castle.

Both Fazil and Yue have found the experience very rewarding and beneficial to them as they have developed their organisational and presentation skills that they can now add to their CV's.

As the programme has proved to be successful and has helped our new students to settle in, we hope to run the scheme every year.

Fazil comments: " The experience has been really rewarding, as it has involved assisting students to settle into the university and it has also given me an opportunity to discover a new set of skills, apart from enhancing existing skills"

Yue comments: "I am really happy that the University can provide this peer mentoring support for postgraduate taught students. With the help of experienced peers, students can settle down in the new study and living environment more easily and effectively."

Joy Moloney, Senior Education Development Fellow comments:  "Yue and Fazil have approached all their many tasks with great enthusiasm and we are delighted with the range of activities that they have launched. They are currently producing a report on their work and this will be shared with faculty colleagues."

Dr Anna Barney, Associate Dean (Education) for Engineering and the Environment adds: "Our MSc student numbers are growing very quickly and we are pleased to have been able to provide this additional support to help the students settle in and make the most of the first few months of their time studying in the faculty. The peer advisors have been very enthusiastic and have worked hard to meet the needs of the students from all our different MSc programmes."

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