Our student-staff partnership in the School of Law at the University of Reading, had 9 second year student mentors ready and raring to go to help and support new first year Law students with an optional Law and Society module. The mentors were funded to advise staff upon module design but the primary aim of the partnership was to attach them to first year seminar groups where they would build relationships with their group to help and support the new students as they transitioned to university in a pandemic.

Whilst  advising on module design went well and effected meaningful change, after that things did not go to plan!

Mentors struggled to get the first year students to engage with them; the community support and mentorship that our mentors felt had been missing from their first year experience (marred by the pandemic), did not land well with the new cohort who were on campus with more in-person classes.

The mentors shared their experiences of trying to engage first year students to build a learning community. The audience was encouraged to share their experiences and ideas.

So we pivoted

– mentors were redeployed as researchers to find out about barriers to learning for first year students emerging from the pandemic. They shared their experiences of challenges in getting volunteers, but also their insights into what is and is not working for our first year students.

Student mentors shared the challenges, but also the benefits of working in a student-staff partnership. What partnership lessons can we learn for the future?

Making a change from tales of success, this interactive presentation learned from our mistakes and whilst the partnership has pivoted, the audience saw how we found the positives amongst the difficulties.


CAN Conference 2022 - Pivoting Partnership

We welcome any comments or if you would like to discuss this with us.

You can contact Amanda and the student partners via email to: a.millmore@reading.ac.uk or on Twitter @LegalTrainingUK@UniRdg_Law

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