This is a guest post by Philippa Price, Subject Librarian at Swansea University
Last month, Swansea University hosted a library teachmeet at its Bay Campus. The topic was ‘Second Year Success’, inspired by research which suggests that students experience a dip in performance in their second year of university (sometimes called the ‘sophomore slump’). The event was a chance for university librarians to gather informally to share concerns, ideas and experiences of supporting second year students.
We had around 20 higher education librarians taking part on the day, including one further education librarian who supports HE. The feedback so far suggests it was a productive event. By the end of the teachmeet, attendees had:
- identified key areas of concern
- identified areas of current good practice
- generated ideas of how to better engage with second year students
The programme included guest speakers from Swansea University – Janet Collins and Amy Genders, Student Experience Officers from the School of Management, and Rosella D’Alesio, Academic Success Programme Manager from the Centre for Academic Success – but the emphasis was on group discussion.
The format was inspired by a recent CPD event on student-generated induction. We used small group discussions to generate responses to the areas identified above and then used electronic polling to let attendees vote individually on which was the most important to them in each area. We found the following:
- What is your main concern about your current support for/engagement with second year students? = Doing something different (progression) (47%)
- What is an example of current best practice to engage second year students? = Stress specific benefits to students (40%)
- Next steps – what are you going to do to engage with second year students? = Develop support for things second years ‘should’ already know (50%)
The format worked well and made for a lively and constructive day. The ‘call to action’ at the end when attendees were asked to identify and vote on the next steps they will take seemed particularly motivating. It’s a strategy I’ll use again when planning training and support sessions as it seems a good way to translate reflection into action.