Leeds for Life model for Peer Mentoring provides a set of principles to establish the minimum requirements to enable student mentors to have their engagement with the scheme formally recognised by the University on their Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR).
The aims of the Leeds for Life model for Peer Mentoring are:
- To assist a smooth transition to different stages of University study by giving students the opportunity to meet with current students who have previously transitioned through the relevant stage;
- To enable peer mentors to develop a range of Leeds for Life skills and knowledge to help fellow students transition to or through University life.
- To help new students feel an early sense of belonging to their peer group, school and the University.
- To articulate with personal tutoring by providing an additional source of support for students to go for information and assistance.
And in the spirit of the University Partnership:
- To recognise the value of those who have recently transitioned into Higher Education in contributing to developing an excellent supportive environment.
The principles set baseline expectations but allow for school variations in the design and implementation of such schemes. The principles approach ensures that the selection and training of peer mentors, the monitoring of their engagement with the scheme and the graduate level skills they derive through their engagement are robust and consistent.
The principles of the Leeds for Life model of Peer Mentoring are:
- There should be School-level commitment and approval for the scheme with named administrative support identified to co-ordinate the scheme at a School level;
- Peer Mentor Co-ordinators should undertake appropriate induction for setting up such a scheme, such as attendance at a Train the Trainer event;
- Peer Mentors should be provided with a role description that includes clear boundaries;
- Students should signal their interest in becoming a Peer Mentor via a selective application process;
- All applications should be independently scrutinised and there must be clear and transparent selection criteria to determine the suitability of those wishing to become Peer Mentors;
- All Peer Mentors must receive appropriate training for their role, to include guidance on signposting and reporting in relation to duty of care, and attendance at the training must be recorded;
- Evidence of Peer Mentors engagement with the scheme must be gained e.g. through monitoring and/or timetabling;
- Peer Mentors engagement with the scheme must be maintained for a period of 6 12 weeks over the first semester of the academic year with a minimum number of substantive contacts or encounters with tutees being defined;
- That supervision be provided to Peer Mentors in order to respond to complex or affecting pastoral issues.
Through their engagement with the scheme Peer Mentors should have opportunity to develop the following graduate level skills:
- Use of Knowledge demonstrated through using knowledge of the programme of study to answer questions and provide advice / insight into being a student on the programme ;
- Professionalism - demonstrated through acting as a role model to incoming students and being selected on the basis of having a good attitude towards their own studies;
- Time management - demonstrated through the planning and organisation of meetings and events;
- Team working - demonstrated through working effectively in partnership with a fellow mentor and together with their mentees;
- Social / cultural sensitivity - demonstrated through being aware of student diversity and in organising events that are inclusive;
- Communication skills - demonstrated through listening, signposting, passing on information and knowledge, offering different perspectives plus being supportive and encouraging;
- Confidence - peer mentors need to build the confidence and self-reliance of incoming students and therefore would need to demonstrate these qualities themselves through leading discussions with peers;
- Ethical awareness - demonstrated through acting in an open and honest way and with integrity in relation to academic regulations;
- Flexibility - able to respond to issues as they arise and to be resourceful in organising events and discussions with incoming students;
- Leadership - demonstrated through leading events, activities and discussion with a group of up to 10 incoming students;
- Peer Mentors should not receive direct payment for their involvement in the scheme, although the design of the scheme should enable their contribution to be recognised via the HEAR.
- Certificates for those Peer Mentors who have engaged successfully with the scheme should be provided.
There does remain the option to introduce less formal schemes for peer support but it would not be expected that these would be recognised via the HEAR.
Peer Mentoring Policy
The Leeds for Life Peer Mentoring policy was approved by TSEB in February 2015, and provides a set of principles to establish the minimum requirements to enable student mentors to have their engagement with the scheme formally recognised by the University on their HEAR.