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Stay On Course supporting students’ transition into and through university
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The “Stay on Course” initiative is a solution to the inherent shortcomings of the traditional support model that is based on the expectation/assumption of the student being pro-active and seeking information and/or support when they need it. In many universities this has evolved towards a ‘One- Stop-Shop’ structure answering all enquiries and directing students to specialised departments, as appropriate. Often students who are in need of support are not able to seek support due to their mental state or are ignoring their issues, hence they are left without help for longer than they need to be and are at risk of dropping out. This pro-active support model is based on a flag and follow approach by identifying groups of students who need help/support, and engaging them to provide support and guidance. This model is proactive rather than reactive and ensures that the student is central to the process, being actively engaged by support staff to help create a “Stay on course” plan for themselves which aids transition and progress. Students engaging with the initiative are more likely to continue. This model has been successfully used at University of Dundee and is now being rolled out at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh.
Joan Muszynski, Patricia Michie University of Dundee and Hilary Glendinning Queen Margaret University Edinburgh
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