The work of Dr Melanie Giles, School of Psychology, Mrs Amanda Zacharopoulou, School of Law, and Dr Joan Condell, School of Computing and Intelligent Systems is being honoured for its recognition of the importance of adopting a student-centred approach to teaching and learning within their respective disciplines.
The three academics were united by a desire to address the challenges posed by the changing experiences and expectations of their students, and saw the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) teaching initiative as one part of the solution.
PASS is a long–running and internationally renowned form of peer learning that involves trained higher year students (PASS leaders) working in pairs to facilitate regular study groups with students in the year below.
The team thought the scheme offered real value, not least because of its success at improving academic performance and achievement – and increasing student retention.
The success of PASS is built on the thorough training of PASS leaders. Thus, having decided to trial the initiative in one part of the University, the team set out to develop the required training materials, establish the appropriate infrastructure within each discipline, and pioneer the accreditation of training by designing co-curricular modules that would promote the development of skills and attributes to strengthen employability.
Evaluation was built into the process from the outset and has provided evidence to suggest that the scheme is not only contributing to an improvement in student performance across a range of subjects and an increase in student retention, but is also aiding the transition process by allowing students to build supportive networks.
CAPTION: Dr Joan Condell (Faculty of Computing and Engineering), Mrs Amanda Zacharopoulou (Faculty of Social Sciences) and Dr Melanie Giles (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences) received the Distinguished Teaching and Learning Support Fellowship (Team Award).