W16 – We got the students we wanted – now what do we do?

Dance room – TUESDAY 14:15-15:15

Workshop – 30 minutes

Robert Nordman & Tomas Otby

Institute of Technology at Linköping University

Robert Nordman (BA) is a Study counsellor since 2008, with a background in the Student union both locally and on a national level.

Tomas Otby (MSc) is faculty coordinator for Master-level programs and previously education manager at the faculty.

Summary

Specific programs tend to attract students who are on average similar. This creates a culture among the students themselves, which poses a new set of challenges for how we prepare them for higher education. In this workshop we will identify some such challenges we have in common and different approaches to handling them.

Abstract

We got the students we wanted – now what do we do?

In trying to attract students to our study-programmes in the faculty of Technology we communicate that we look for those who are ambitious, want to face challenges and who have certain fields of interest. As a result we do in large part get exactly those. Choosing what to study has become part of setting your identity, reinforced by other students during the years you spend there and inadvertently by the university as a whole.

As preparation for the coming studies we focus most of our efforts in the first weeks with a few follow-ups the rest of the first semester. Our system for this is popular and strong, involving both experienced students and teaching staff. We have students, “Student mentors”, hired to give an introduction to higher studies. Other students are involved in specific courses. The student union arranges the social aspects of the reception, with a policy of limitations on alcohol.

Our purpose is of course to show good role-models, and that we have values, views and visions in common between students and staff.

The introductory weeks work well, but after that brief time we face the following challenges:
 The students are exactly as ambitious as we want them to be, and so they test our systems to the limit. This leads to them requiring a lot more resources. How do we handle this?
 Students with similar interests and views of themselves create a culture within the studyprogramme, and it’s not necessarily a positive one. How can we handle this?
 The 90’s generation puts new demands: They want all information available everywhere at all times, yet at the same time they would prefer a very personal contact and coaching. As this is impossible to balance we need methods to socialize them into more reasonable expectations. How do we do this?

Preliminary structure of workshop in the following three steps:

1) Background description of how we currently arrange the preparation of new students
2) Ventilating challenges the participants find we have in common
3) Putting a “title” for each area of challenges and discuss methods of handling them

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