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Theme: Nuts and Bolts Session

Creating Connections and Campus Community:
Facilitating the First Year Experience

Clara O'Shea
Centre for Education Development & Academic Methods
The Australian National University


This presentation is a retrospective account of the creation and implementation of a peer mentoring program based on a social integration model. Originally conceptualised as a means of easing the transition to a research-led university, the Student Information & Guidance Network (SIGN) also developed as a community focus for commencing and later year students and acted as a 'translation point' for knowledge exchanged between students and university staff. In exploring the tacit knowledge & culture of the university, later year students were able to articulate cultural mores, hidden know-how and share 'just in time' information with first year students. By offering first years a personal connection with the university and the opportunity to socialise and share experiences with other students, SIGN was able to assist their adaptation to a new environment and learning style.

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