The University of St. Andrews is consistently recognised as one of the highest performing universities around the World. Situated on the stunning Fife coastline, students from far and wide come to study at Scotland’s oldest university and enjoy a student experience rated in the UK’s top ten. We’re very proud to say that the University of St. Andrews has been one of our clients from the very beginning and today we’re celebrating continuing our relationship into the 2018/19 academic year. And with it supporting the development of even more students.

 

In 2016/17, the university’s Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development (CAPOD) heard about the work we do and were quick to learn more. After 2 meetings with Catriona Wilson (Head of Student Development), we had already shaped the initial rollout and identified a student group that would benefit. That group were those students participating in the Professional Skills Curriculum. A collaboration between CAPOD and the University’s Student Association. Focussing on the 11 skills that graduate employers are looking for, the programme was a perfect fit to illustrate the impact of coaching. It was from this experience that one of our most popular stories was written –the Maya and Jean dream team.

 

After the success of the initial rollout, Catriona identified additional student groups to offer 1:1 coaching too in 2017. These would include Sabbatical Officers and 50 participants of the Laidlaw Scholarship programme. More students meant better systems were needed. Feedback from student evaluation asked for the coaching opportunity to be self-directed. Students wanted to take control of their development and access the coaching at a time in the academic year that best suited them. We created a bespoke gateway for students to access coaching directly through the Know You More platform. To further reduce the amount of time required by Catriona and the team, we rolled out activity dashboards for the University to track the student progress.

 

Evaluation and feedback from the student scholars were once again positive and all of the students reported that the coaching had been effective:

“I genuinely enjoy working with Stefan. From the outset, he was very open and accommodating, laying out very clearly how he sees his role and how that is flexible to my needs as a coachee. I felt very much at ease in sharing my thoughts and reflecting on my strengths but also weaknesses without fearing to be judged or looked down upon. I would wholeheartedly recommend to future Laidlaw Scholars to take up the opportunity of being coached.”

A nice addition to developing students at a scale is the ability to bring our community of coaches together and identify the themes that were emerging from the coaching conversations. This provides Catriona and CAPOD with first-hand insights on the challenges and development areas their students were experiencing:

 

  • Focus and attention
  • Instant Gratification
  • Productivity
  • Decision Making
  • Relationships
  • Collaboration
  • Communication

 

“We have worked to produce coaching programmes for students who take on volunteering positions in University programmes; students who are part of a scholarship programme developing their leadership and research skills; and students who are elected to the role of sabbatical officer in our Students’ Association. These groups of students have actively engaged with coaching to help with myriad objectives including increasing productivity, setting goals, understanding values and staying focused. Our feedback from the students involved is that they found this a very positive experience, and in many cases transformational. Our partnership with Know You More will continue to grow and develop. I intend to offer an increasing number of students access to the service. It’s great to be able to partner with a social enterprise organisation with such an ambitious vision.” Catriona Wilson, Deputy Director & Head of Student Development

In 2018/19, Catriona and CAPOD will once again be widening the offering of coaching to more student groups and across a variety of schools. These will include:

 

  • School Leaders
  • Widening Access
  • International Placements
  • Student Wellbeing
  • Postgraduates

 

We’re looking forward to developing and supporting more ‘Saints’ students than ever. We want to equip them with the skills, confidence and belief in making the leap from education and taking command of their future. And, above all, we want them to own that future, to have the ability to think clearly and make the right decisions for them.

And from our perspective, we’ll listen to feedback from students, Catriona and her team, so that we can continually improve how we support the University of St. Andrews.