Welcoming our new students

Issued: Tue, 01 Oct 2002 00:00:00 BST

The Orientation Programme
A tremendous co-ordinated effort from the Students' Representative Council (SRC), staff and student volunteers across the University has resulted in an impressive programme of events to welcome our new entrants. An extensive programme of activities has been organised to run from Tuesday 1 October until Friday 11 October. The wide range of daytime activities traditionally offered in Freshers' Week are brought together in the Orientation Programme and the Unions will provide the evening entertainment.

The Orientation Programme stretches to a comprehensive 25-page booklet: that is a measure of how many activities there are. Some activities are of a practical nature to help new entrants find their way around the campus and the City, so watch out for the crowded city bus tours. For many students this is their first step on the way to independent living. Workshops are available to help students learn how to manage money, find part-time employment and use IT facilities. There are also many events giving Freshers the chance to discover all the doors university life can open for them, outside of their academic work - in particular at the SRC's Freshers' Fair.

There are plenty of enjoyable social events threaded thorough the week, but entrants are also keen to be reassured about the academic aspects of their new student life; the where, what and how of their studies. In preparation for their imminent studies, activities are available to help new entrants focus on developing the skills of a successful student, incorporating study skills development and tours of the Library. Most Faculties have set up a detailed Induction Programme, in a process designed to introduce new entrants to the academic environment in which they will study. All Faculties in association with SRC will host informal, hour-long drop-in sessions for students to mingle with staff.

In response to feedback, special attention this year is being given to mature students, students with children and postgraduate students. Generally speaking, we have found that new mature students are less interested in the social aspects of being a student and are keener to get advice about studying and learning at university. We have endeavoured to strike the right balance for all our new students.

The Extended Programme
We know that students continue to need a variety of support throughout the first term in particular. With the addition of new workshop space in the McMillan Reading Room, the work will not stop on 11 October. There will be an Extended Programme, bigger and better than last year, which will run throughout the academic year and help draw students to various centrally-delivered workshops. During the first term there will be sessions on effective learning, being a postgraduate student and more. The facilities in the McMillan Reading Room are there to be used to support students in whatever way is appropriate. If there are colleagues who would be willing to deliver workshops to students then let us know. No doubt the Rector's video on managing stress in exams will be a popular resource as the weeks progress, but student life is not all about exams and we will provide other resources on request. Please give us your suggestions.

Web site and Evaluation
To allow new entrants a chance to plan ahead, the 2002 Orientation website can be viewed from the University's main page. The programme is also sent to them by SRAS in late August. Once underway the Orientation Programme will be monitored and a comprehensive evaluation process will drive improvements for 2002/3.

The programme content has been developed and organised by a number of students, student representatives and staff: Sharon McNeish, Student and Staff Support Division; Rebecca Lever, Student Information Desk; Jo Odds and Ben Zielinski, Students' Representative Council; Eileen Boyle, First Year Mature Student; Fiona Dalrymple, Assistant Manager, Postgraduate Club; Alison Mitchell, Computing Science; Joyce Wason, Vet School; Helen Clayton, Dental School; John-Paul Shearer, SRS; Rick Hill, Student Network.

Contacts: For the Orientation Programme for New Entrants, Sharon McNeish ext. 4541
For the Extended Programme, Rebecca Lever ext. 6723.

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