Transforming Transitions: Learning and Researcher Developers and a Whole-institution Approach to Successful Transition

Struan, A. , Boyle, J. and Ramsay, S. (2023) Transforming Transitions: Learning and Researcher Developers and a Whole-institution Approach to Successful Transition. In: ALDinHE Conference, June 2023, (doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi29.1085)

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The impact of Covid-19 on incoming students and researchers is plain: students and researchers were denied access to their usual educational experiences, to their usual networking and social interaction, and to their usual assessment types. This resulted in an incoming cohort of students and researchers with higher levels of anxiety and, often, less awareness of the requirements of higher education/research. Recognising the need to engage with new students and researchers in innovative ways, the Student Learning Development (SLD) team and the Researcher Development (RD) team undertook two institution-wide projects to provide students with a ‘world-changing’ start to their studies. In particular, we sought to engage with the competencies of online study and research skills, academic integrity in an online world, academic community building, and student/researcher confidence. As we move out of the emergency response to the pandemic (Bartolic et al., 2021; Yowler et al., 2021), both teams have adopted these projects as core elements of work and as particular highlights of the value of LD and RD to the institution. The relationship between LD and RD varies greatly within institutions. Some universities do not differentiate between the roles, some work within the same team, and others work entirely separately. While the two teams are situated separately at the University of Glasgow, the teams work closely together to provide an integrated response that provides continuity of experience for our students and our researchers. For our undergraduates, a new course – T2G: Transition to Glasgow – was created by SLD. Designed around developing competencies, instilling academic identity, and easing the transition to formal education, the course provided students with the skills required to succeed. For our postgraduate researchers, a new course – PGR@Home – was created by RD. Designed around integration and developing competencies, the course offered asynchronous and synchronous opportunities for research students to begin the process of joining the university community in their new role. In each case, students were contacted directly with information and promotion material on the available initiatives and participated on a voluntary basis. They were able to select from a range of topics that interested them, and also completed a core academic literacies module. For students who completed T2G by completing the required coursework, we granted an exemption for a first-year compulsory writing course. As the courses were pilots, PGT students were not included in either piece of work, but reflecting on each project has enabled us to develop plans to expand and tailor our provision to meet the demands of our PGT students. This joint case study presented and reflected on the ways in which we adopted a whole-institution response to the transition to new stages of learning and research. The case study highlights the ways in which Learning and Researcher Development teams can offer a transformational transition experience for our students and researchers (Cage et al., 2021; Thompson, Pawson and Evans, 2021), and provides evidence of impact through evaluation and analysis.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boyle, Dr Jennifer and Struan, Dr Andrew and Ramsay, Dr Scott
Authors: Struan, A., Boyle, J., and Ramsay, S.
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
College/School:University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division
University Services > Student and Academic Services > Academic Services
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education 29
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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