College of Humanities hosts Workshop Geared at Improving the Student Experience
The College of Humanities hosted the second Integrated Student Support Workshop at the UNITE Building aimed at contributing to student success and throughput.
Funded by the University Teaching and Learning Office, the workshop examined the different components that make up student support, including Schools, Teaching and Learning, the Mentorship Office, Financial Aid, Student Academic Services and Student Support Services.
Representatives from the central Student Services Division were also at the event.
The inaugural workshop, held in May this year, focused on the model created by Professor Diane Grayson of the Council on Higher Education to support student success which centred on greater integration between academic, administrative and support sectors.
Project leader and Director of Professional Services in the College of Humanities, Mr Kishore Gobardan, said the aim of the workshop series was to ‘place the student at the centre of everything we do’.
Gobardan cautioned against working in silos and said while a lot of initiatives were in place, there was a need for greater clarity around the roles of different departments and further integration.
Project leader and Manager of Student Support Services in the College, Ms Angeline Stephens, provided an overview of an online student survey which was conducted to gauge the opinion of students about services they receive in the College. Of the 1 302 completed questionnaires received, more than half of the students reported they had never accessed any support service. Students who did access services indicated they valued support from all sectors of the College.
Stephens said although there were many examples of support in the College, there was room for improvement across the board, and that student engagement was critical to this process.
One of the challenges identified was a lack of advertising of services. Gorbadan suggested tapping into social media to ensure students were informed about the services at the University. Recommendations from the floor included posters and bilingual signage to help students find some buildings which may be remotely situated.
Director of UTLO, Dr Rubby Dhunpath, said while elements of the system were functioning ‘we need to reimagine ourselves’.
Dhunpath acknowledged staff for their commitment and their behind the scenes work. ‘The outcome is the reward. To see hope realised, to see families benefit … that is the real reward,’ he said.
While the project is in its infancy, a long-term goal includes involving all Colleges to ensure all students benefit from best-practices in the College of Humanities.