P334: Building a learning community in chemistry through peer support

Author: Samantha L Pugh, University of Leeds, UK


Date: 8/4/14

Time: 3:05 PM3:25 PM

Room: MAK A1151

Related Symposium: S29

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) was introduced to the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, UK, as a successor to the pastorally-focused peer mentoring. The benefits to the school have been multi-faceted. The transition to PAL has meant that first year students have had the benefit of both pastoral support from their older peers, in terms of orientation at university, and integration into the life of the school. However, PAL has gone beyond supporting induction to provide students with guidance on all aspects of university study, such as making the most of lectures, tackling coursework, making module choices for future years and seeing the connections between the various aspects of the syllabus. Of equal importance are the benefits for the students who act as mentors. They develop a wide range of skills, such as communication, organization, and leadership. They also visibly grow in confidence during their time as a mentor. Revisiting first year material also helps them to understand their own course material more deeply. Finally, the school and faculty benefit from a much greater sense of community between year groups within the school, and between students and faculty, as they discuss the outcomes of the PAL sessions, allowing faculty to receive relevant and real-time feedback on their course as it progresses. Models for extending PAL to students beyond year one have also been explored and implemented in some areas, leading to better engagement and an increased sense of belonging for the students.

P183: Developing commercial awareness in a chemistry curriculum

Author: Samantha Pugh, University of Leeds, UK


Date: 8/4/14

Time: 10:15 AM10:35 AM

Room: MAK A2117

Related Symposium: S20

A recognised transferable skills deficit has been identified in UK Chemistry Graduates. The skills identified included the abilities to work as a team, deliver oral presentations, solve open-ended problems and efficiently retrieve information[i]. Employers also seek graduates who are commercially aware and understand the way in which businesses operate. However, it is widely recognised that “commercial awareness” needs to be context specific to be meaningful[ii],[iii]. In response to these findings, two new modules were introduced into the Chemistry curriculum at the University of Leeds to help students develop their commercial awareness through experiential learning. Chemistry: Idea to Market was introduced to year 2, with support from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the National HE STEM Programme and, takes students through the various stages of new product development in the Chemical industry. The module uses industry-authored case studies and a number of external speakers, including alumni, to provide an authentic experience. Students produce a portfolio of work as a group. Chemistry: Making a Difference, was introduced to year 3 with support from the UK Higher Education Academy, students develop their own idea for a business start-up, and write a business plan, based on the principle of chemistry making a difference and, linked to the RSC’s Priority Areas. In both modules, students are also assessed by a “Dragon’s Den” style persuasive pitch and a self-reflective essay. [i] http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/ps/documents/graduate_skills/chemistry.pdf [ii]. http://www.research-toolkit.co.uk/images/reports/Commercialawareness.pdf [iii] http://www.lts.leeds.ac.uk/Student_Education_Bulletin/documents/SEB7_for_web.pdf?PAGE=137&SUBPAGE=178