Student Learning Drop in: Opening up our service and adapting our culture
Fuglsang, S and Newman, S, Student Learning Drop in: Opening up our service and adapting our culture, Student Peer Learning & The AALL Professional; Evolution, Equity & Innovation, 21 November 2012, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 8. (2012) [Conference Extract]
In 2011, the support services at UTAS were restructured to create a 'one stop shop' for international and domestic students. A site of integration of these two services was the student learning mentor drip-in space. this peer learning program(Adam, Skalicky, & Brown, 2011) provides a spaces for students to effectively acquire and develop academic skills through peer mentoring. The benefits of peer mentoring are well documented (topping, 1996: Cooper, 2010). It appears perceptions of difference between domestic and international students, their need and how to address them, posed difficulties for some of our peer mentors.
There are many lessons to be learned from the integration, and education and language used to train and support student learning mentors. Through analysis of records, discussion and reflections of staff, and student surveys, the success of the integration is being evaluated. This papers shows the evolution of the UTAS student learning drop in space and its continuing vision to deliver quality and equitable assistance to students. Early findings indicate that cultural competence training should be incorporated into the general training of peer mentors. In the future it is unlikely that either the emphasis on peer learning, nor the importance of international education, to Australian universities will diminish. as a consequence, such training will continue to be important to ensure the adequate preparation of our peer mentors for the important task of assisting students including those from a foreign language background.