…but you cannot make it drink.
We are in the middle of the recruitment process for the level 5 mentors. In order to generate interest I have;
- Produced a cover letter, poster and application form,
- Posted digital copies of these for students on their course integrated learning site….3 times,
- Spoken to students about the project in taught sessions and asked colleagues to do the same,
- Handed out printed copies of the cover letter and application form,
- Extended the deadline for the project,
- and included a whole other cohort of students by extending the right to apply to our BA Education studies students also.
In all of this I have outlined the benefits of taking part, including the free training, offering participants 100 pounds towards academic activity for taking part (in the project not the research) and a free notepad! Who doesn’t like free stationary?!
And….after all of that we have had 3 applications. Over 60 students were invited to apply and 3 did so. I wasn’t expecting a hugely high influx of applications, students in their second year are aware that the grades they are achieving count towards their classification at the end of the degree and it can be a busy year for assessment. However they also have one eye on graduation and future career options suggesting opportunities to develop skills and gain valuable work experience would be highly sought after.
You may be able to hear in my writing that I am a little disappointed, however I can also see positives to working with a smaller group, particularly as this is our pilot project. In addition the applications received were of a high standard and each brings a different set of skills and range of experience to the project. I hope they will offer a diverse programme of study skills sessions. We will have four hour long sessions with the mentees so the low numbers mean each mentor will be able to work individually and we can also really focus on developing their skills in planning and delivering.
So it’s not all bad but it does prompt me into thinking more on student engagement; what are the causes? is there is anything we can do about it? am I so out of touch I have no idea how to engage our students in an extra project? For the future, for now I am going to focus on my mentors and how I can enrich their university experience.
Here is a link to the padlet which is the mentor space containing all the relevant documents shared: https://uon1.padlet.org/lisa_shepherd/PALMmentors