Peer-to-Peer Interactions

Author - Dr Wayne Clark, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Wayne is the Director of Student Administration at The University of Auckland where he is responsible for academic and student services for around 40,000 students. Wayne has been a senior lecturer in financial and organisational management and has held senior management positions at three universities. His PhD was in strategic education management. He studied the academic achievement of just under 20,000 First Time Entering Undergraduates over five annual intakes, analysed persistence and retention factors, and developed a critical factor identification framework to improve retention. He has remained closely involved with research into the First Year Experience, attrition and retention overall, and strategic management of the first year and the first year experience. His interest in social learning communities as mechanisms to improve social equity (and hence learning) on campus, is balanced by his institutional interest in the retention-and-revenue relationship. His Retained Revenue Model and Linear Progressive Strategic Framework for managing the First Year Experience have demonstrated how the social and academic engagement of students and the civic and financial well-being of the university are advanced by reducing the many “costs” of attrition.

Further information is available from the University of Auckland.

First Year Curriculum Perspective

The Peer-to-Peer Interactions commentary (pdf 2.08MB) examines the first year curriculum from the perspective of campus socialisation, institutional-student engagement, and a commitment to building the social equity that sustains students in their learning environment. The author aligns his stance closely with Astin’s assertion that “the single most powerful source of influence on the undergraduate student’s academic and personal development is in peer groups”. Extensive research suggests that students are best served by a learning environment in which they can meaningfully interact with other students: those students who work and socialise together are more likely to succeed, and are more likely to continue with their studies. Consequently, it is suggested, socialisation and engagement with campus life is a crucial platform for retention and persistence. Ensuring that socialisation and engagement occur as part of the first year curriculum is highly effective as a transition instrument. Of particular interest is the commentary’s reference to the Beatty-Guenter retention strategy model (Beatty-Guenter, 1992).