Case study 5 - Mentorship of students and staff to promote independency and emotional well being

Davis, Katherine

Impact Summary

Mentorship for students has improved student retention and achievement across all modules particularly in their first year and generic skills learnt can continue to be applied throughout their academic and professional life. A structured mentorship programme for employers enhanced their academic values, assessment and delivery skills judged by feedback from students and participants. Mentorship of staff teaching on the courses (one MSc and four BSc degrees) for which I am course director has achieved above average pass rates for a diverse body of students. Mentorship of new staff introduced them to new styles of delivery to assure success of teaching large modules. Mentorship of staff to enable them to use newer technologies for delivery contributed to their professional development. Recognised within and without the faculty for expertise and enthusiasm to act as a mentor for 11 staff from both the modules I lead and those from different subject areas to ensure high quality delivery of large modules. Mentored visiting and part time lecturers and those from partner colleges in assessment techniques that were fair and allowed computer assessment.

Key Achievements

  1. Introduced structured mentorship for students to improve their performance in specific modules and acclimatise to University life, graduation and employment.
  2. Successfully supported new staff to deliver large modules who made a successful transition to an academic career to meet new goals.
  3. Created a successful, more flexible mentorship scheme for employers facilitating a resource of external lecturers to deliver knowledge relevant to modern work practice and future needs of the job market.
  4. Mentored staff to incorporate digital techniques into their delivery to make the curriculum more accessible, interactive and encourage deeper learning in students.

Key Aims

My key aims of mentorship for staff and students were to: • Encourage the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills through reflection • Promote emotional well-being and resilience • Ensure that a structured programme was in place with agreed outcomes, meeting times and deadlines, but tailored to individual needs • Recognise success through student and staff retention and achievement particularly in their first year • Enable high quality standards with staff from partner colleges


My approach was based on my own experience as a new lecturer where mentorship was not offered, and it was assumed that I had no questions and all the skills needed for teaching delivery. This left me feeling unsure and lacking confidence. I contrasted my experience with that of a colleague who had the benefit of a mentor who could reflect on her work, acknowledging weaker areas and work towards improving these with appropriate help. I set aside time for each person, but also thought that group mentorship with a facility to interact with me directly might work in some cases e.g. teams delivering the same modules or students grappling with the same problems. My priority was to listen to my mentees. I analysed and matched skills of mentees to initiate a buddy scheme for staff in my mentorship group to fast track acquisition of skills and inspire confidence in each other. To prove that my mentorship was effective I used feedback questionnaires and look at achievement and retention of students on modules where I had mentored staff and/or students. For staff in partner colleges, I would look at quality standards informed by student retention and achievement.

Key Outcomes

New lecturers able to cope better with the stress and demands of a high-pressure environment focussed on results. Mentoring programmes had a positive impact on retention of staff despite the challenge of teaching in a results demanding culture. Group mentoring with individual support was effective in terms of enhancing emotional well-being, but the buddy scheme worked better to share knowledge and experience. Students are well prepared for University life and their future careers. Modules taught by new lecturers showed an improving profile (better results). 360-degree degree feedback was excellent. It incorporated MEQ data, SSCC data, MEPs, CEPs, external examiner reports, data insight dashboards and course team meetings (where I am in the course director or module leader role). Transparency of data is achieved by posts on Canvas pages and to the course reps. The data are included at boards of studies to demonstrate module improvement and attribute contributing changes.

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