Author: Karl C. Alvestad, Project Officer – University of Winchester
At the University of Winchester, the Changing Mindsets project takes the Institutional values into practice. Our values ‘individuals matter’ ‘social justice’ and ‘diversity’ are at the heart of our identity and learning, and through this project, we have the opportunity to embed this even further into the student experience and to meet every student’s needs.
The values of Winchester are firmly embedded in our institutional ethos, by which we mean that every student is an individual and we strive to ensure that they all have equal opportunity to succeed. Key to this is one of our strategic priorities which states: ‘It is implicit in our Mission that we should seek to ensure that all who can benefit from a Winchester education will have the opportunity to do so, regardless of their background, and that we should do this with particular regard for marginalised groups’. As such it is our mission to seek to close the attainment gap for all groups and to work to ensure that all students can equally benefit from the education they receive at Winchester. Furthermore, our Learning and Teaching strategy aims to ‘broaden students’ personal as well as intellectual experience, and to embrace inclusivity.’ Collectively, these strategies demonstrate our institutional commitments to facilitating learning for all students. We believe these ideas align well with the ethos of the Changing Mindsets project and we feel they will help us embed our strategies further into our day to day practice. In our understanding of the Changing Mindsets project’s aims and objectives, we see a close relationship between our institutional values and the aim to close the attainment gap and to help students develop a growth mindset.
To achieve this we are working with four departments with a varied student population that appreciate the university’s values. The programmes were invited to take part on the basis of the diversity of their student body and the attainment and progression data for the departments involved.
Within these programmes, we are running peer led workshops for the students. These workshops are linked to existing modules within the programmes to encourage our student participants to attend the sessions. These sessions will be delivered through our new peer-learning schemes for Accounting and Finance, Drama, Education Studies and Psychology, and are developed in close cooperation with our Academic Skills Team and their PAL and Academic Skills Mentoring schemes. We envisage that these sessions will both stimulate growth and development among our students, and have an impact on the attainment data for these programmes.
Our students will experience the peer-led sessions as integral parts of their programmes. The intervention workshops will in most programmes be delivered as part of their skills development modules. The staff of the involved programmes will undertake workshops to develop a growth mindset and to be better placed to support their students through the project and their studies.
This project will help further embed our institutional values in the Winchester learning experience. At Winchester we are excited to take part in this project as we through this can help each and every Winchester student to fulfill their potential through values driven higher education.
Disclaimer: the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog post belong solely to the author, and do not necessarily reflect the values of the University of Portsmouth or the extended Partnership.