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Foireann Aistrithe is a student-staff partnership approach to transitions projects, designed by colleagues in the Department of Biological Science in collaboration with AnSEO, The Student Engagement Office, MTU Cork campus.

Traditional boundaries constructed between staff and students can result in somewhat of a divide between these two groups and a them and us approach. Students staff partnerships have been identified as a fruitful way forward for student engagement in higher education.

Foireann Aistrithe, which means ‘Team Transitions’, will build on existing successful transitions projects within the Department of Biological Science by allowing students in later years to team up with staff members to instigate new transitions initiatives for first year students.

It is hoped that the Student Staff Partnership approach will foster a sense of belonging and promote engagement and retention among our students, both transitioning to MTU and in later years.

What is the project plan?

  • Support the transition to MTU for students on the BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Health Science programme
  • Foster a sense of belonging within the Nutrition and Health programme by enabling staff-student partnerships

Why is this project important?

  • This project will allow students in later years to partner with staff members to instigate new Transitions initiatives for first year students. Partnerships between staff and students are needed to understand the students’ experiences of belonging, retention and success, and students in later years are best placed to provide support to first years and identify with their needs and wants. This student-staff partnership approach will foster a sense of belonging and promote engagement and student retention for students, both transitioning to MTU and in later years.
  • Collaborative student-staff partnerships can enhance student engagement in higher education. Further, creating an environment in which everyone is responsible for improving student belonging, retention and success can improve student capacity to engage and staff ability to offer an engaging experience.
  • This project will further develop students in a supportive environment and prepare them to make positive contributions in their careers and as members of society.
  • The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education prioritizes student success, more specifically, affording all students the opportunity to fulfil their potential and be community engaged and equipped to flourish in a global world.
  • Providing students with opportunities to engage with the wider MTU community will enable student success, beyond academic grades. In fact, the following have been identified as key actions to support student success (HEA, 2019):
    • encouraging teaching staff to embrace participative approaches and foster relationships with students
    • building staff and student capacity for engagement and partnership
    • identifying and utilizing opportunities to adopt students-as-partners initiatives
  • Additionally, the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP) supports student engagement by championing a strong culture of student and staff partnership (HEA, 2019).

What will be delivered or different at the end of this SATLE project?

  • Students will have advanced their skills, specifically leadership, teamwork, communication, project management and networking, thereby improving their employability.
  • Participating students will have increased enjoyment of and engagement with the college experience, resultantly increasing retention.
  • Being afforded the opportunity to work with students on extra-curricular activities may bring new learning for teaching staff, while also affording opportunities to raise their institutional profile and the possibility of reporting in a research capacity on the learnings from the partnerships.

Who are the Team Members?

DR AOIFE McCARTHY

Department: Biological Sciences

MTU Cork campuses

Email: Aoife.mccarthy@mtu.ie

Twitter: @AoifeMc_RNutr

DR MAIRE BEGLEY

Department: Biological Sciences

MTU Cork campuses

Email: maire.begley@mtu.ie

DR CAITRIONA GUINANE

Department: Biological Sciences

MTU Cork campuses

Email: caitriona.guinane@mtu.ie

Twitter: @CaitrionaGuinan

ANNA MURPHY

Department: Biological Sciences

MTU Cork campuses

Email: anna.murphy@mtu.ie

DR MICHAEL CALLANAN

Department: Biological Sciences

MTU Cork campuses

Email: michael.callanan@mtu.ie

RICHENDA KIERNAN

Department: Biological Sciences

MTU Cork campuses

Email: richenda.kiernan@mtu.ie

FRANCES LYNCH

Department: Biological Sciences

MTU Cork campuses

Email: frances.lynch@mtu.ie

Twitter: @lynchfrances

 

Collaborators:

CLIONA HATANO

AnSEO, The Student Engagement Office

MTU Cork campuses

Email: cliona.hatano@mtu.ie

JOE MURPHY

AnSEO, The Student Engagement Office

MTU Cork campuses

Email: joe.murphy@mtu.ie

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