Principles for Student Induction
1. The University's approach to student induction will recognise that initial induction to the University is part of a longer process of transition from secondary to higher education or from undergraduate to postgraduate study that extends beyond the first weeks of a student's programme of study. Effective induction is a crucial first part of ensuring that students are supported throughout their time at the University.
2. Induction for new students will cover the breadth of the student experience including an academic induction that addresses the skills required to read for a degree in the student's chosen subject area(s) and a college induction which will cover student support within colleges and access to specialist student services.
3. Formal induction arrangements, which will be coordinated across the University, will therefore be put in place in all departments and colleges, and will apply to both undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. The separate needs of undergraduate and taught postgraduate students in relation to induction will be taken into consideration.
4. These principles do not apply to induction arrangements for research postgraduate students, which form an element of the Code of Practice on Research Degrees and will be reviewed separately by the Dean of Graduate School and recommendations made to Education Committee and Senate.
Responsibilities of Academic Departments
5. Academic induction will introduce students to their new academic community of practice and identify the level of commitment and standards expected of them. The exact model of delivery of this may vary but should include an introduction to the life of the department, the roles and contributions of students (undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research postgraduate), the roles and responsibilities of academics, and subject-specific and, where appropriate, vocation-specific working practices.
6. Academic induction will show students how their programme of study is constituted as research-led education, with a coherent and explicit progression through the stages of the programme, which allows them to develop further as independent learners and which culminates in a research project, dissertation or equivalent.
7. Academic induction will address subject-specific study skills, introducing subject methodologies, methods of learning and teaching in the subject, the roles of formative and summative assessment, and the use of assessment feedback to improve academic performance. Where appropriate, academic departments will be supported by the English Language Centre in delivering this perspective.
8. Academic induction will provide initial guidance for students on the level of writing, communication and numeracy skills that they will be expected to develop in their chosen subject area(s).
9. Academic departments will offer events and activities that provide new students with opportunities to interact with each other, and with other current students and academic staff in both formal and informal settings. All new taught students will have the opportunity to meet with their appointed Academic Adviser individually during Induction Week or very early in the first term.
10. Academic induction will introduce students to the transferable skills which they will develop through their programme of study and to the common graduate destinations at the end of their programme. Academic departments will be supported by the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre in delivering this perspective (cf. principle 22).
11. Academic departments will provide induction activities that facilitate active student participation and that may also engage students with the Library, the virtual learning environment and other aspects of the University's learning infrastructure.
12. Where appropriate, academic departments will guide new students in making their module choices during induction week. This may take the form of individual guidance provided by academic advisers (cf. principle 9), introductory talks or module fairs for those choosing elective subjects.
13. Induction events and activities within academic departments will consider the needs of part-time, international and interdisciplinary (e.g. Natural Sciences, Joint Honours and Combined Honours) students.
Responsibilities of Colleges
14. College Officers, JCRs and MCRs will be jointly responsible for the delivery of principles 15 to 20.
15. Colleges will be responsible for initial welcome events and will be the first point of contact with the University for new students.
16. College induction will foster a sense of community amongst new students and create a sense of belonging to both the college and the University as a whole, via social events and extracurricular activities, and through opportunities to interact formally and informally with senior tutors, college principals, mentors, college 'parents' and other undergraduate and postgraduate students. College JCRs and MCRs will work in close partnership with the College Officers and DSU to deliver events and activities consistent with the values of both the colleges and the University.
17. College induction will cover the various sources of support, guidance and information available to students from colleges, academic departments and specialist student services. Students will be provided with clear information on the types of support available and contact details for appropriate individuals and services.
18. Colleges play an important role in fostering research-led scholarly communities within the University. Therefore, as part of their induction into an academic community of practice, college induction will encourage students to take up the opportunities offered within the college for personal development and the acquisition of wider skills that will prepare them for their future lives and employment.
19. College induction will address the diverse needs of specific student groups, including: undergraduate, taught postgraduate, international and part-time students.
20. All new students will attend a matriculation ceremony during induction week at which, by college group, they will be formally admitted as members of the University.
Responsibilities of Specialist Student Services
21. Working with the colleges, the International Office will provide specific induction events for international students which will include welcome and orientation sessions, practical advice and guidance, information on the various sources of support available from departments, colleges and specialist student services, and social activities. This international induction event will also introduce students to the differences between higher education in their home countries and the UK, and articulate the expectations and norms of UK higher education.
22. Working with academic departments, colleges and relevant specialist student services, the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre will introduce students to the importance of developing transferable skills through their programmes of study and through the wider range of opportunities available to them during their time at Durham University, with a view to future employment opportunities (cf. principle 10).
23. Through the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre, new students will have the opportunity to evaluate their generic skills on entry to the University to enable them to identify any skills gaps. Throughout the first year (or first term in the case of 12 month taught postgraduate programmes) generic study skills sessions will be offered centrally, for example by the English Language Centre, which will assist students in the transition from secondary to higher education, or from undergraduate to postgraduate study. They will explore different types of learning and teaching (e.g. lectures, seminars, practicals) and develop generic study skills such as essay writing, time management and the use of IT and Library resources.
24. Experience Durham will provide new students with information on and opportunities to join sports teams and to engage in volunteering, music and drama activities, encouraging new students to develop their skills in, for example, teamwork, creativity and leadership.
Responsibilities of DSU
25. DSU will support the development of a sense of community and belonging amongst new students during induction week via social events and extracurricular activities, delivered in conjunction with colleges where appropriate. DSU will work in close partnership with College JCRs and MCRs to provide advice and guidance regarding the delivery of student-led induction activities in colleges consistent with the values of both the colleges and the University.
26. DSU will promote opportunities for new students to become actively involved in representing the student voice across the University for example as a staff/student representative or as a Faculty representative.
27. DSU will provide new students with information on and opportunities to join student societies, as a way of further developing a sense of communal identity among new students.