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Show, Tell and Talk – Community building and student belonging through in-person activities

January 11 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Community building and student belonging through in-person activities

Students wishing to attend this event can register on Eventbrite.

This 90 minute in-person session, chaired by Ros O’Leary will explore how we can design both curricular and extra-curricular activities and sessions which build students’ sense of wellbeing and belonging through in-person activities.

Contributors include:

Dr Emily Bell – Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences and BILT project holder

Together from the Start?

Exploring students’ sense of belonging following a residential field trip at the start of their university journeys.

As educators, we are aware of the multiple transition periods that our students experience throughout their time here with us. Although all transitions can impact students it is clear that a successful transition into higher education can be fundamental to a student’s ultimate success at university. Moving from secondary education to university can be a stressful time where students experience multiple stressors including the need to meet and make new friendship groups.

During this first transition, developing a sense of belonging with peers, staff and the institution is crucial and, if successful, can provide academic benefits, increased retention, the development of learning communities and wellbeing benefits. Here I outline a developing study that is following our current year 1 Biological Science students throughout their student journey by exploring whether attending a residential field trip at the start of a degree programme influences their sense of belonging at university.

The trip took place in October 2022 and not only included key biological skills training but a strong focus on community building. Within this BILT Show, Tell and Talk session I will outline how we developed the trip to focus on creating a strong sense of belonging, summarise the first emerging thoughts of our students and outline how we will continue to assess the experience of students in the future.


Patty Miranda – BILT Student Fellow for student belonging and wellbeing in the curricula

Offering student voice and sharing insights from the ongoing collaborative work between students and staff to improve the Bristol Skills Framework, with a particular emphasis on the skills and traits required to develop personal effectiveness, promote good wellbeing, and a genuine sense of belonging.


Claire Spencer – Senior Lecturer in the School of Accounting and Finance and BILT project holder

Student transition to university needs to be swift, particularly for postgraduate students on one-year programmes. It also needs to be effective, as students can be reluctant to speak up about issues affecting them, resulting in missed opportunities to close gaps in their academic and personal skills, often impacting their wellbeing.

The Business School provides a team tutoring model for postgraduate students with variable levels of student engagement across this large cohort. Drawing on practical experience as Senior Tutor and two current research projects Claire will provide insight into how factors such as language, culture, quality of service and communication may prevent early engagement with tutoring, and how through a workshop with students four themes have emerged around cohort community and belonging. These themes are guiding co-created initiatives that aim to benefit the students’ experience and provide tutors improved insight to students’ needs to evolve tutoring support.