Strengthening the support networks for all: Building Belonging @ Bradford

Julie J Warden (Univeristy of Bradford)
Thomas Robshaw (Univeristy of Bradford)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 4:30 PM - 5:15 PM

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Session Outline

Personal tutors have a key role to play in building a sense of student belonging and often act as a conduit to wider support sources (Strayhorn 2019, Wooton 2006). At the University of Bradford, Faculty of Life Sciences, we have been leading a campaign to establish and strengthen access to support networks for all, emphasising and valuing collaborative working (McIntosh et al. 2020). This has contributed to improved student and personal tutor confidence and increased both retention and attainment. This presentation charts the development of our practice over the last two academic years and showcases several examples of the positive impact, across the following themes:

  • Do I matter and belong? Do I have the necessary skills and confidence? Examples include a template for the first group tutorial of the year, buddying boundaries, and delivering personalised and contextualised training and support.
  • Am I ‘in the know’? How can information be more visible? Staff and students need awareness of what support is available and easy access to information in a format that works for them. Resources are provided in multiple formats to both students and staff, seen for example in our staff- and student-facing one-stop intranet sites.
  • Who will help me to succeed? Working holistically, networks are created that support all. For students this includes their peers, personal tutors, and central services. All parties are encouraged to contribute and provide feedback.

The intention of this presentation is to benefit other institutions and personal tutors, by assimilation and development of the highlighted examples within their own practice. In doing this, we hope to strengthen the student sense of belonging across the UKAT network, which demonstrably has the potential for higher confidence and success rates.