Working with Students as Partners: Developing Peer Mentoring to Enhance the Undergraduate Student Experience

Carla Reeves, Robin Kiteley, Kirsty Spall, Louise Flint

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Capturing the power of student peers to enhance the student experience and higher education (HE) learning environment, as well as provide skills development opportunities, has a centuries long history (Colvin and Ashman. Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning 18(2):121–134, 2010). However, recent changes in the HE sector (including changes to financing students resulting in growing financial pressures, and the teaching excellence framework emphasising metrics measuring students’ satisfaction with a course and their outcomes) means ‘peer mentoring’ and ‘peer assisted learning’ schemes have grown as the holistic context of higher education becomes increasingly understood as fundamentally significant to students’ learning experience (Lindley et al. Journal of Studies in International Education 17(1):79–96, 2013; Mavrinac. Libraries and the Academy 5(3):391–404, 2005). Recent work has pointed to the contemporary imperative for universities to work with students to re-imagine and re-develop all aspects of the student learning experience in a spirit of collaboration, co-operation and partnership (Bryson, C. (Ed.). (2014). Understanding and developing student engagement. London: Routledge; HEA. (2014). Framework for partnership in learning and teaching in higher education. Higher Education Academy; Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: The Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from:; Thomas, L., Hill, M., O’Mahony, J., & Yorke, M. (2017). Supporting student success: Strategies for institutional change. What works? Student retention and success programme. London: Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Retrieved from: Accessed 4 January 2018). In this chapter we focus on how such an approach was applied to the development of a peer mentor scheme for new undergraduate students studying within the social sciences. Such mentoring programmes have been linked to higher achievement outcomes as well as retention and student inclusivity within diverse populations (Binder et al. Journal of Education and Training Studies 1(2), 2013; Chester et al. Australian Journal of Pyschology 65(1):30–37, 2013).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMentorship, Leadership and Research
Subtitle of host publicationTheir Place within the Social Science Curriculum
EditorsMichael Snowden, Jamie P. Halsall
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319954479
ISBN (Print)9783319954462, 9783030070397
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2018

Publication series

NameInternational Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
ISSN (Print)2625-6975
ISSN (Electronic)2625-6983


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