Ms Laura Chandler1
1Griffith University , Meadowbrook, Australia
For the past decade, peer mentoring initiatives at Griffith University have been supported through a centralised program known as Mentoring at Griffith. Mentoring at Griffith has sought to expand and enhance mentoring through a series of strategies and activities focussed on training, development and recognition for student peer mentors combined with networking, consultation and resource provision for mentoring program coordinators. With around forty locally coordinated and funded peer mentoring programs operating in central elements, student organisations and Schools around Griffith, programs have relied on the available supports to differing extents over the years.
A recent review of the framework has highlighted the achievements and limitations of this model. A strong commitment to maintaining local ownership and coordination of mentoring programs has led to widespread use of peer mentoring to support transition and retention in the first year, but has also contributed to difficulties ensuring universal and equitable access to peer mentoring for commencing students across all campuses, including those studying online. For students, peer mentoring has been effective in supporting orientation, transition, social connection and academic success in the first year, but has not, as yet, been significantly expanded to support students during the challenging transitions experienced later in the student lifecycle.
This presentation will provide an overview of the review findings, outlining the most successful strategies and greatest challenges of this approach to the organisation of peer mentoring in a large, multi-campus university.
Laura Chandler has worked in student support and development roles in higher education over the past 20 years, including equity and widening participation projects, personal counselling, disability support, international student support and welfare related work. Over the course of her career, Laura has developed a passion for proactive peer support approaches, including peer learning and peer mentoring. She has coordinated and established many peer support programs over the years, including transitional and intercultural peer mentoring and peer learning programs, such as PASS. Laura has served as the Coordinator of Mentoring at Griffith at Griffith University for the last eight years, where she supports the establishment and development of peer mentoring programs across the five campuses. She has been recognised for her work supporting student learning with a USQ Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning and induction into the USQ Teaching Academy. Laura currently works directly with both staff and students and finds working with students energising, inspiring and hopeful.