Student Affairs

Encompassing the departments of Registration & Student Affairs and Student Services.

A mixed-methods approach to understanding the impact of a first-year peer mentor program
This study is a mixed-methods research project designed to measure the effectiveness of a peer mentor program in meeting institutional goals such as increased academic performance and retention. The results suggest that peers are useful in helping students manage the demands of the first year by normalizing the experience and linking the students to campus supports. The results also demonstrate a relationship between first-year students who interact with a peer mentor and increased academic performance; however, the link to retention is not as clear. More research, over a longer time frame, is needed to understand the factors that affect retention. The intention of this research is to contribute to the growing body of literature that helps practitioners champion retention initiatives that respond to the holistic needs of first-year students. Peer programs are initiated for a variety of reasons, including fostering success among first-year students, connecting students to a major, helping athletes balance the demands of a high-performance sport with the rigors of academia, and bringing together like-minded students for social causes. Whatever the reason, peer mentor programs seek to have more advanced students engage, teach, recruit, and retain first-year students. While postsecondary environments engage peers as mentors with a general understanding that this is a good way to assist students, there is little evidence to suggest an impact on institutional goals (Budge, 2006; Crisp & Cruz, 2009; Gershenfeld, 2014). This project was designed to investigate the effect of a peer mentor program on institutional goals, such as improved academic performance and lower attrition rates between first and second year, and is an important piece of research linking student affairs activity with critical institutional priorities.
Supporting students with disabilities in trades/technical programs [poster]
The Justice Institute of British Columbia, Camosun College and Selkirk College joined together to develop a research approach that they believed would be the best course of action with the one-time grant provided. A two-step mixed-methods approach was proposed by the institutions to better understand the issues/challenges faced by students with disabilities (a faculty/staff interview, and an online student survey), and the possible options available to address those challenges.