Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement
Bob Belcher, Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre
Natalie Cotton, Assistant Support Co-ordinator, Hampshire Autistic Society (HAS)
Chair: Dr David Franklin
Support for students with Asperger Syndrome
The increasing number of students with Asperger Syndrome applying to and joining the University created particular pressures on conventional mentoring support resources, which were generally poorly suited to deal with the subtlety and variability of the frequently overwhelming difficulties faced by these students from day one. The widely acknowledged ‘triad’ of difficulties with social interaction, communication and imagination make change, uncertainty and a robust social environment very threatening and this is merely the backdrop to an academic experience precisely aimed at particular areas of weakness – independent learning and the development of transferable skills.
It was clear that if central support was to be effective it would have to be specifically tailored to individual rather than generic deficits and needs, and be underpinned by an experientially based understanding of the complex implications of Asperger Syndrome. Of the mentoring resources conventionally available, trained student mentors were simply out of their depth and the increasing volume of support needs required meant that qualified professionals with specific experience of Asperger Syndrome were far too scarce to meet the growing demand.
This session will cover the particular nature and implications of Asperger Syndrome within the HE context, identify the central support now available at the University and outline a promising new external initiative that is generating national interest and sponsorship within the NHS following a successful pilot study conducted at Portsmouth. Time will be available to discuss the issues raised with the speaker and the coordinator of the central support provision currently in place.
Sukh Hamilton, School of Education
and Continuing Studies,
Rachel Hudson, DCQE / School of Education
and Continuing Studies,
Wendy Sims-Schouten, School of Education
and Continuing Studies
Chair: Dr Jane Creaton
No problem here?! Using the student voice to promote staff discussion about how learning, teaching and assessment can be made more inclusive for BME students
An interactive session in which colleagues will have the opportunity to try out draft discussion materials that have been developed as part of a joint research project concerning black and minority ethnic (BME) student attainment at the University of Portsmouth. Thediscussion materials comprise student and staff views from around the University on inclusive approaches to learning, teaching and assessment. At the end of the session colleagues will be able to quiz the presenters about the research behind the discussion materials.
Dave Small & Tom Lewis
Equality and Diversity Unit
Chair: Dr Andre Van der Westhuizen
Student Diversity at the University of Portsmouth
Since 2007/2008 the number of disabled home students has fallen by around 7%, while non-disabled home student numbers have grown by 13%. Also, in 2006/2007 black and minority ethnic (BME) students made up 13% of the University’s home student body but by this year accounted for 17.5%.
The changing demographic of the University’s student body has been vast, particularly considering the relatively short timeframe. This could have significant implications for the University, particularly if the various outcomes we measure annually can be reliably predicted by the student body’s make up in any year.
This session will present an analysis of five years’ statistical data regarding disability, gender and race within Portsmouth’s home/EU students. It will then allow delegates the opportunity to comment on the implications that the changing face of the University may have on its future success.
Linda Jones, Law / Criminology Librarian, University Library
Chair: Dr Peter Starie
Are there really not enough books in the library? Looking at reading lists with information literacy in mind
As a librarian with a career that has often seemed to revolve around reading lists for validation, accreditation and as a key tool within the curriculum, last year I put forward a Leading Change project that centred around staff and student attitudes towards reading lists.
Having now gathered evidence from focus groups, workshops and interviews with both staff and students throughout 2011, I feel the time is right to start thinking more broadly about reading strategies across the University. Reading lists are flexible tools and if we start thinking of them as resource lists rather than purely print based, then they can do much to enhance the student experience and broaden guided learning to include core information and digital literacy skills.
The workshop is designed to highlight problem areas and spark discussion as to how lists can be tailored to cater for students at levels from Foundation to Doctorate. In particular, the workshop is designed to facilitate open discussion of the issues involved and consideration of some examples of good practice from around the University plus ideas gleaned from staff and student workshops and interviews over the last year.
Possible points of interest may be the advantages that electronic reading lists have for visually impaired/dyslexic students, the need to consider specific issues when catering for distance learners and how dealing with large cohorts may not always mean that there are not enough books.
This is an area of key importance to both the student experience and NSS surveys and, at time when increasing prices and uncertain finance are key concerns, it is vital we address this strategically to maximise the impact of library spending.