Session 3C | Paper 1 – Induction: A professionally-oriented treasure hunt

Professor Rachael-Anne Knight , Dr Rachel Holland & Lucy Myers

Induction is related to retention (e.g. Tinto, 1987), with literature demonstrating the importance of students’ initial experience at university (McInnis et al. 1995) and the benefits of activity-based programmes (Edwards, 2003). Building on work at City by colleagues in journalism and at LEaD, a treasure hunt induction was introduced for the BSc in Speech and Language Therapy (SLT). The induction targeted four areas that help students to stay on their programme: 1) professional goal commitment (Tucker, 1999), 2) building a sense of belonging (Milem & Berger, 1997), 3) peer support (MacKie, 2001) and 4) relationships with staff (Brooman & Darment, 2014). In groups of seven, students visited locations around campus, including the library and the in-house clinic. At each, they conducted a professionally-relevant task, such as finding books on SLT, or completing a verbal fluency task.

The induction was evaluated using a survey including rating scales and open questions related to the four areas of interest. Responses were received from 44 of the 63 attendees. Rating scales were analysed by calculating the percentage of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed with the presented statements: 1) Only 45% agreed the treasure hunt had helped them to develop their identity as an SLT, but 2) 84% agreed that it had helped them feel part of the university, 3) 100% agreed that the treasure hunt had helped them to get to know other students, and 4) 89% agreed that it had helped them to get to know staff. Thematic analysis of free text comments revealed that the treasure hunt was fun and informative, and that students valued the SLT activities, and had made friends. Discussion and future work will address the low ratings for development of professional identity, and issues of inclusion for students who are not able to attend in person.

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