Jessica Luquin1, Dr Colin Clark1
1UNSW Sydney, Kensington, Australia
This paper urges a whole-lifecycle approach to co-curricular support that develops the whole person during academic study and describes initiatives at UNSW Sydney to create a coherent structure that supplements and supports academic progress. Co-curricular student support is intended to meet the needs of equity students at all stages of the student life cycle from transition to graduation. At UNSW Student Life, equity students are supported through transition phase with online chat and phone support as well as peer mentoring. During their study, students can develop themselves through volunteer opportunities and unpaid internships with community organisations. These initiatives contribute to graduate attributes by developing a sense of community and engendering professionalism, which may be important for students who lack social or family capital that may help them develop professional networks. To enhance student educational achievements, support services need to assist students reflect on their personal goals (Morisano, Hirsh, Peterson, Pihl, & Shore, 2010; Potter & Bye, 2014). A distinctive feature of the UNSW programs is that students have access to an online self-assessment tool—NavigateMe—that links students to initiatives that meet these self-identified goals. NavigateMe suggests ways in which students can change their lifestyles, personal habits or academic practices to improve their university experience. Many of these suggestions involve engagement with the university and wider communities in the form of internships, volunteering or peer mentoring.
Eva Mueller is a Project Officer with UNSW Student Life. She works on the Leadership Program and Peer Mentoring Programs, and has previously been a data analyst in the area of early intervention for equity students. She holds a PhD in Media Arts from UNSW.