Andy Pye

Senior Fellow SFHEA and Peer Support

Student engagement

Name Andy Pye
Email A.J.Pye@exeter.ac.uk
Position

Assistant Director of Education/Senior Lecturer in Biosciences

College College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Engaging students through Peer Support

Andy is involved in engaging students based at the Penryn campus through the Peer Support programme. After receiving funding from the Higher Education Academy, Andy, was eager to explore how best Peer Support could help students to actively engage with their studies and their peers. Keen to ensure the students had a voice in the development of the scheme, Andy set up a pilot project. "We asked the students they wanted us to do, what they wanted from a peer scheme, and really the driving force was getting the students to tell us what they wanted.”

As Andy explains, Peer Support provides an important opportunity for second year undergraduates to meet with first year undergraduate students in an "informal setting where they can discuss any problems they’re having...The main aim is getting students to meet each other, to make sure that people don’t get lost in a larger group”.

The experience is beneficial for not only the mentees, providing a social opportunity to meet with other students in their discipline and discuss their experiences, but it also allows the mentors to practice their transferable skills, such as in delivering presentations and leading group discussions, which can then be invaluable when applying for graduate employment. 

Aim 1: Talented, Active, Engaged Students

To increase levels of student engagement with their academic studies

What students say:

  • "It's very casual, we're kind of on the same level, so I guess they'd be less worried about asking us than maybe a seminar leader, in front of all their peers as well which is quite difficult sometimes. "
  • "It's very informal so... [mentees] feel they can ask questions...more easily in a smaller group than they can in a 200 seat lecture theatre... if it was more formal...I don't know if they'd get so much out of it."
  • "It does add a personal touch to University... you can be swallowed up by it and you feel like you don't know anybody...whereas as your buddy...is keeping in touch with you, so it's a bit nicer."

Peer Support

"...it builds confidence...that other people are going through similar experiences”