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Pre Arrival Contact : Lisa Gorton

Lisa Gorton.jpeg Welcome email direct to student’s personal email.

 This is what was sent to new students before the start of  academic year 16/17.

Pre Arrival Contact : Stuart Moss

Stuart Moss.pngPre-arrival I have students join a closed Facebook group, which becomes their class group and then eventually their alumni group. The group is used to share course and industry news, reading lists and to generate ‘buzz’ just as entertainment organisations do, pre-release of their products.

The result is that the students already get to know each other before they have even started the course, and begin with some knowledge of what to expect.

Extended Induction : Wendy Altinors

Wendy Altinors.jpeg Our International Foundation Studies students often arrive late due to visa issues.  To help them I have an extended 6 week series of guest lectures from our  support services.

In addition, catch up induction sessions are arranged for the first 3 weeks of semester 1 and we have weekly module drop-in tutorials to enable students to catch up on academic content.

Enhanced Contact with Academic Advisors: Andy Abraham, Kevin Till, Stephen McKeown, Fieke Rongen. 

 All students meet with their personal tutor during a comprehensive  induction week including familiarisation with course, academic regulations,  university sport, university buildings and coaching staff team.

 This year we propose that personal tutors will spend at least a day with  tutees on residential to help form relationships (achieved with all but 2 members of staff who are unable to attend the residential).

Personal tutors will tutor students from all 3 years. Offering meetings with the full group to create vertical mentoring opportunities.

The intention is to have a maximum ratio of 1 tutor per 10 (we have gone over this slightly) students to improve students' sense of belonging and relationship with staff.

We plan to instigate a 'teaching free' week when all level 4 students will have a longer meeting (45 mins) to discuss progress on the course. This week will also include enrichment activities, such as coaching school children on campus.

Taking Sociology Onto the Bus: Natalia Gerodetti

natalia-gerodetti.jpg  The students’ bus trip is part of a long thin induction for students on our L4  module 'Doing Sociology in Leeds' as well as part of an assessment within that  module. Students are put into groups half way through the module and pick a  bus route in Leeds. From there they undertake sociological observations of the  city and compare this data to neighbourhood statistics. The result is an  assessed student presentation of their findings and interpretations at the end  of the module.

We did this for the first time last year and it was a huge success in the sense that they used sociological skills, got to know group members and had social contact - and they generated interesting knowledge about Leeds! Most of them move around a very small geographical area (i.e. halls, uni, shopping in town) so to travel the whole length of a bus route was a revelation to all of them.

Much of the literature on retention suggests that making friends is key in creating a sense of belonging and trust and therefore early social connections support retention. Moreover, they develop a broader and more detailed sense and knowledge of the city. Both connecting with people and with the city contribute, I suggest, to a sense of confidence in first year students and thereby to students' sense of belonging. My biggest surprise last year was that some students had never even travelled on buses before!

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