Griffith leads the way with peer programs for students

Griffith University’s peer-to-peer programs such as mentoringandstudent leadership enhance student support, engagement and achievement.

At the recentSTARS(Students, Transition, Achievement, Retention, Success)Conference, Griffith psychology student Sam Flowers saw how the University compared with others in the peer program space.

“I was quite inspired to see the sector-wide contributions to improving the student experience,”Samsays.

“Griffith also really demonstrated its commitment to student wellbeing through itswide range of programs.”

Griffith University’s Manager, Mentoring and Orientation Nathan Sengsays Griffith has been a pioneer instudent mentortraining.

“To my knowledge, Griffith University was the first to introduce a coordinated training program foritsstudent mentors,” he says.

“Many universities now offer similar programs,which is great to see.”

Nathan isalso theconvenorof the Queensland chapter of the Australasian Peer Programs Networka community of practice for peer-support professionals and higher education practitioners.

Each year, the network meets at the STARS Conference.

“The student voice was a key underlying theme at this year’s conference, and Griffith was one of the few universities that brought along a student representative,” Nathan says.

“Sam’s voice was integral to the proceedings, and we’re so glad he could be there to offer a student voice firsthand.”

Student voice is key

Sam Flowers and Nathan Seng
Sam Flowers and Nathan Seng at the STARS Conference

In his third year of a Bachelor of Psychology withHonoursdegree, Sam says he was happy to contributeat the conference.

“During small group workshops, academics and professionals actively involved myself and sought my feedback, particularly in the psychological wellbeing workshops,” he explains.

“I was able to provide a present context and feedback from a student’s perspective, which everyone really appreciated.”

Sam says the conference also reinforced the benefitsoftheGriffith Graduate Attributes.

“There were key messages around adaptivity, agility and anti-fragility during the conference, which are all echoed in the Griffith Graduate Attributes,” he says.

Students at centreof peer programs

Nathan says the Universityrecognisesthe importance ofpeerprograms and is committed to their ongoing development and success.

“Our peer mentoring programs are innovative, digital and agile to meet the needs of our varied student demographics,” Nathan says.

“On a recent student survey (Starting at Griffith), 72% of respondents indicated they received helpful information or advice about their degree from senior students or peer mentors.

“Student feedback informs a lot of what we do. For example, programs such asPeer Writing Mentoringare a direct result of the kind of support students are askingfor.

Nathan says students connect more readily with their peers, which is what helps makes Griffith’s student-led peer programs a success.

“Peer programs likestudent mentoringandPeer Assisted Study Sessionswork because students are more likely to accept practical study tips from their peers,” he explains.

“The social connections are also really important, and we know that social connectivityespecially early on–correlates to higher retention rates.”