WIT with SLL celebrate another successful year of the P2P peer mentoring programme at the P2P awards and talk about the future of the programme
This year, 126 student mentors volunteered their time as part of the 2019/2020 P2P programme – Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) peer mentoring programme. On Thursday, 6 February, they were recognised for their contribution to the WIT community, supporting new first year students in their course with their transition to third level college.
The aim of P2P
The aim of the P2P Programme is to support the transition of new first year students into third level education by providing them with access to a trained mentor who is an older year student from their course who acts as a form of social support throughout the academic year.
As it is developed and led by the students in each programme it is a very much a student led, student centred programme. Students volunteer their own time throughout the semester to support new students into WIT and to disseminate important information of college life and processes.
Those in attendance received their certificates presented by Head of Student Life and Learning, Laura Keane in an evening ceremony for recognition of their contribution to the programme.
Recognition of their contribution
Keane spoke of the difference these students make to the lives of first year students: “'Settling in to college involves an adjustment to a new environment and meeting new people, which some may find challenging or difficult. It is a time when new students really appreciate a friendly face and fellow student taking an interest, answering their queries and pointing them in the right direction. This year we had 126 mentors supporting over 450 first year students – that is nearly one quarter of our first year students. We believe that P2P is successful because it is led by students for students and helps to create a sense of community and belonging for new students. We hope to continue our success and further expand the P2P programme.”
Among the 126 mentors were 18 Senior Mentors. These were returning mentors who chose to participate in an accredited Special Purpose Award in Peer Mentoring and were presented with their special accolade by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Registrar, Dr Derek O’Byrne. This is only the second year in the Institute’s history such an accolade has been completed by students.
Lecturer Gillian Stewart from the Dept. Sport and Exercise, Geraldine Cleere, course leader of the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice Studies and Marie O’Dywer, lecturer in the School of Business, were the lecturers who led this Special Purpose Award spoke very highly of the 18 students who participated.
P2P is coordinated under Student Life and Learning and this year been led by staff in Retention and Engagement team – Katie Dillon Keane, Nicole Jordan and Marie Sheedy, in conjunction with academic staff from the specific programmes it is running in.
The next step
The focus on P2P for semester two is recruiting new mentors for the 2019/20 academic year to help and support next year’s new students and explore the potential to develop and expand even more.
126 mentors participated in the 2019/20 P2P programme from the Department of Sport and Exercise Science undergraduate courses, from the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice, the Bachelor of Business Honours and the BSc Applied Health Care. Currently this semester, developmental work is being carried out between Student Life and Learning and lecturer Maria Cahill to explore a version of P2P in the Dept. Computing and Mathematics.