Zoë Rutterford

Student engagement

Name Zoë Rutterford
Email Z.M.Rutterford@exeter.ac.uk
Position External Relations Administrator/Student Support Officer
College College of Life and Environmental Sciences/International Student Support Office

Support for international students with ISSO and cultural diversity on campus

As part of the International Student Support Office (ISSO), Zoë’s main role resides in transition and integration for all students, and promoting integration and participation whilst at the University. Zoë works with departments across the University, from Colleges to the Students’ Guild, to co-ordinate events such as Freshers’ Week and cultural events like Holi festival throughout the year. These cultural events are mostly student-led through Guild societies, and all students from all backgrounds are encouraged to get involved.

For international students, Zoë and the ISSO provide support through various methods, such as mentoring schemes, VISA and immigration advice, meet-and-greet services at airports, and one-to-one appointments about their learning or anything else they may be struggling with. “A lot of [students] have never studied in a UK education system before, so they might need that little extra support to understand who they should be going to… and the ISSO are an easy way for them to do that.”

Cultural diversity on campus is hugely important for the University community, and for students to develop a strong multi-cultural understanding, as “it’s becoming more important to be flexible in how you work, and understand and work with people”. International experiences, including exchange programmes or Study Abroad, all contribute to this “global experience… [by] being able to show that you can work in any kind of place and take your understanding and learning to other cultures…”

External relations in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Within the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES), Zoë supports the integration of students from the INTO University of Exeter diploma courses onto the undergraduate programmes in CLES. The College aids this transition through the organisation of a programme of events throughout the year, encouragement of student mentoring, and motivating students to “progress and want to come here and achieve more…”

Zoë also co-ordinates Widening Participant outreach events, “to increase the diversity of the background of our Home/EU students on campus”. The importance of outreach activities cannot be overstated, as this gives many young people the opportunity to realise that they do have the ability to access higher education. “Students perhaps from schools that are not performing as well; or their parents have never gone to university so they don’t understand the university system [means] they’re less likely to go into it themselves; or students that just don’t think that they’re going to be able to afford it… We want to show them that this isn’t a completely alien, scary place. We want to show them that it is achievable.”

Aim 1: Talented, Active, Engaged Students

To increase levels of student engagement with their academic studies

Internationalisation in the South West

"We have a responsibility and we are an important part of the community…"

Widening Participation in Science

"Actually, anyone can be a scientist… Science can take many different forms…"