Abertay students are to receive personalised peer-to-peer support and advice as part of a new Student Success Officer initiative.
With funding received from the Northwood Charitable Trust, three Student Success Officer roles have been created to improve student engagement and retention within each of the University’s academic schools.
Working alongside the School Academic Advisors, the Student Success Officers will monitor student activity, such as attendance at classes and engagement with online resources, to identify those who may be worried about falling behind or dropping out. The Officers will meet up with the students who may be having difficulties, engaging with them on their own level to develop academic and pastoral support strategies that will help them navigate university life.
Each SSO is a recent graduate of Abertay, allowing them to draw from their own student experiences at the University, sharing both examples of success and how to cope with challenges.
Dean of Learning and Teaching, Luke Millard, who has overseen this initiative as part of the University’s learning enhancement team, AbLE Academy, said:
“I’d like to thank the Northwood Charitable Trust for supporting this three-year initiative to improve student retention and outcomes at the university.
“This is about a personalised approach to a student’s entry into university and the recognition that each student matters. Early indications are that the SSOs are already identifying those students who have struggled to engage with their university experience and are jointly exploring helpful ways forward for them.”
Who are the Student Success Officers?
Lee Hutchison, School of Design & Informatics
Lee is from Glenrothes and studied Art & Design at Fife College before enrolling on Abertay’s BA (Hons) Computer Arts course, which he graduated from in 2021.
Lee said: “I would like to focus on creating connections with the students where they feel comfortable to tell me any issues they may have. I would try to help the students help themselves so if the time came again then they could see the solution on their own and if not then I would be there to help them.”
Aimee Grant, School of Applied Sciences
Aimee recently graduated from Abertay with a 2:1 in Sports and Exercise Science. She moved from a small village on the Black Isle to attend university in Dundee.
Aimee said: “Being a recent graduate will help me greatly with this role because I understand how the university operates and I have numerous personal experiences which improved my time at university that I can share with students.
“As an SSO I want to make sure that students feel heard, and I want them to feel seen. I want to avoid anyone falling through the cracks thinking that no one has noticed them.”
Brooke Ireland, School of Business, Law and Social Sciences
Brooke is a native Dundonian, who joined Abertay’s Sociology programme after attending one of Abertay’s Open Day events. Last year, she took part in the Study Abroad scheme at The University of Amsterdam.
Brooke said: “I definitely experienced some challenges at my time at Abertay, but they helped me grow as a person. I was studying abroad when the COVID 19 pandemic first hit and obviously it was a really frightening and completely new experience.
“In my role of Student Success Officer, I want students to know they can come to me about anything big or small and I will do my absolute best to help them or get them the support they need.”
Abertay Fundraising Team
The appointment of Abertay’s new Student Success Officers wouldn’t have been possible without the generous donation from the Northwood Charitable Trust, delivered in partnership with the Abertay Fundraising team.
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