Tag Archives: integration

Not just fun: The importance for social transition

Krassimira Teneva, Samantha Jane Logan &  Jess Inglis

Parallel session 1, Thunderstorm 1.1

Short Abstract
Research (Katanis, 2000) shows that students who do not make a successful social transition into university in the first year of study are less likely to persist. They are more likely to experience difficulties with their academic work and underachievement. This places more demands on academics to facilitate the students’ social transition as an integral part of the course delivery. This session will focus on ways you can make this happen, and on the help and support available from Student Support Services.

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Detailed Outline
In 2013-14 1446 students withdrew from the university without completing their course. They would have been affected by a number of issues (at SHU currently we haven’t got a robust process to record reasons for withdrawal) but research would suggest that failure to make friends, to feel that they belong to a community is likely to have contributed to the decision (Bers and Smith, 1991). Research (Kantanis, 2000; Urquhart & Pooley, 2007) also indicates that students who do not make a successful social transition into university in the first year of study are less likely to persist. They are more likely to experience difficulties with their academic work and underachieve. Lack of friendship networks can affect students’ self-esteem and confidence which hinders their ability to engage fully with the academic process (Thomas 2002; Tinto, 1998, 2000). The clear correlation between successful social transition and successful academic transition would indicate that academics and support staff need to do more to facilitate the students’ social transition as an integral part of the course delivery.

This session will focus on ways we can make this happen, and on the help and support available from Student Support Services. We will look at examples of projects which enhance the social experience of students, and enable them to develop friendship networks and learning communities, from SHU and other HEs

Bibliography:
• Kantanis, T. (2000). The role of social transition in students’ adjustment to the first-year of university. Journal of Institutional Research 9 (1), 100-110 http://www.aair.org.au/app/webroot/media/pdf/JIR/Journal%20of%20Institutional%20Research%20in%20Australasia%20and%20JIR/Volume%209,%20No.%201%20May%202000/Kantanis.pdf
• Tinto, V. (1998) Learning Communities and the Reconstruction of Remedial Education in Higher Education, Replacing Remediation in Higher Education Conference, Stamford University, Jan 26-27
• Tinto, V. (2000) Reconstructing the first year of college, in Student Support Services Model Retention Strategies for Two-year Colleges, Washington DC: Council for Opportunity in Education
• Thomas, L. (2002) ‘Student retention in Higher Education: the role of institutional habitus’, Journal of Educational Policy, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 423-32

On the day this session was merged with another session, as the themes overlapped. The details of that can be found here: Culture Connect: Engaging students through mentoring and supporting their transitions

International student integration: the students’ view (2014)

Krassimira Teneva

International students expect and value the opportunity to make friends with other students, but are rarely satisfied with their integration with UK peers.

Sheffield Hallam University, like many other universities in the UK, has put in considerable investment in developing and promoting extracurricular activities to encourage UK/international student integration. But while we notice steady improvement in the student satisfaction with their experience of integration, we are still lagging behind other institutions.

This prompted us to undertake an impact evaluation of our social integration work, and investigate further international students’ expectations and experiences of meeting and integrating with UK and other international students. The research involved an online survey sent to all international students and two focus groups run by an external moderator.

The findings from this study unsurprisingly showed that international students wanted to meet and make friends with other international and UK students, but had found integrating with UK students more difficult than expected for a number of reasons. The most interesting finding from the research however shows that international students are happy with the level of support they get to integrate socially, but are dissatisfied with the integration at course level – all students who took part in the research expected they would study alongside UK peers on their course. It is the mismatch from this expectation and the reality of studying in predominantly international (sometimes monocultural) courses that leads to their greatest dissatisfaction. Delivering to this expectation will mean we have to provide a multicultural learning experience to all students, not just international.