Students as Peer Mentors: The Value of Mentors and Mentees in Year Zero, Art and Design

Rachel Dickson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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The author identified a need within the student body to improve transition and the student experience within a year one undergraduate program. This conference paper discussed the development, delivery and evaluation of a peer mentor program in Belfast School of Art. The program was unique at Ulster University, as it sits apart from the traditional PASS system of academic support. This mentor program focuses on the social support required for successful transition of new students in to third level education. The aim of the program was to improve transition, retention, success and overall student satisfaction and the student experience. Retention data was collected, in conjunction with qualitative comments from students, both mentors and mentees. The data showed an overwhelming improvement in retention within the program, and increased confidence among both mentors and mentees and an increased sense of belonging to the course, School and University. The peer mentor program was subsequently undertaken in all undergraduate programs within the School. The presentation of findings led to the program being implemented in other Schools within Ulster University, highlighting the impact that such work may have across disciplines. The paper was presented at the European First Year Experience conference at Nottingham Trent University, and published in the conference proceedings. The author acted as conference submission peer reviewer for the proceedings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe European First Year Experience Conference 2014 Conference Proceedings
PublisherNottingham Trent University
ISBN (Print)978-0-9931112-0-4
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Nov 2014


  • mentor
  • peer mentor
  • pedagogy
  • art and design
  • students as partners


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