Humanising Higher Education: Cultivating Academic Success through Positive, Student-Centred Experiences to Enhance Confidence and Independent Learning
David Sotir, The University of Technology, Sydney (Australia)
The Higher Education Language and Presentation Support Centre (HELPS) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has created a paradigm shift by ‘humanising’ university education through holistically supporting students to improve their confidence, academic literacy, engagement and success. It has developed customised teaching and learning resources, programmes and services that reflect a command of the field while implementing evaluation practices leading to improvements in higher education amongst a 40,000+ student population. HELPS’ distinctive ‘No Wrong Door’ approach guarantees no student is turned away. By conducting ‘warm’ referrals, students with issues relating to language, literacy and counselling are guided through pathways to seamlessly and effectively accommodate their needs.
Underpinned by sound pedagogical theory, HELPS promotes confidence and a sense of belonging within the respective communities of practice, facilitating successful transition into university, along the learning continuum and beyond graduation. Through harnessing the power of volunteering programmes it also connects students, staff, alumni and community members using a peer-voiced, ‘insider approach’. Integration of a peer-assisted study success programme and a cross-promotional, cohesive strategy has bolstered participation in peer-to-peer learning support sessions.
This paper will discuss and share the ideas that have guided HELPS to consolidate its position within the higher education sphere as a centre of best practice, providing positive learning experiences that enhance student literacy, confidence and academic success.
Keywords: student-centred experiences, academic literacy, independent learning