Students as Scholars
Students as Scholars in the Faculty of Arts
This year, over 70 undergraduate students across the Faculty of Arts benefitted from the Students as Scholars Programme. This scheme, now in its fourth year, matches undergraduates with postgraduate mentors, and encourages their engagement in the University’s research culture through attendance at research events. The undergraduates are supported in this endeavour by their postgraduate mentors, who are on hand to discuss ideas, give confidence, and promote the benefits of being part of a research-intensive university. One of our postgraduate mentors feels strongly that the programme has helped undergraduates overcome some of the anticipation they might feel attending professional academic seminars, and ‘legitimises’ their presence, allowing them to expand and develop their ideas in a safe, and supportive space. The undergraduates themselves spoke highly of their experiences, stating that Students as Scholars gave “a deeper understanding of what academic research looks like”, allowing them to engage “with areas of study previously unfamiliar to me” and “helping me develop a more open and critical academic mind”. This scheme helps students to become independent and responsible researchers and thinkers in their own right.
From the perspective of the 40 post-graduate (mainly PhD) students who volunteered their time to mentor undergraduate students, the scheme provides an opportunity to think about how research is presented, deepening skills in teaching and supervision. Furthermore, Dr Catriona Firth, whose students in the School of Modern Languages participated in the scheme, states that it has;
“…inspired and facilitated autonomous learning and has encouraged the participants to regard themselves as members of a wider research community. From a staff perspective, it has noticeably enriched the research environment in the department, which has benefited greatly from increased student attendance at research events”.
Yet, the final word on the programme goes to an undergraduate participant who says the scheme; “opened up a whole other side of the University to me”.
The Students as Scholars programme has already begun recruiting students and mentors for 2012/13. For more information, contact Matthew Treherne (email@example.com) or Caroline Starkey (firstname.lastname@example.org)