Engaging with current and potential students

Senior high school students are given the opportunity to engage in a real-life ‘university experience’.

My primary focus here is on engagement with potential students via Uni-Reach and the ‘university experience’ program along with a brief account of an engagement experience with new Asian Studies students in his role as Bachelor of Asian Studies Program Director.

In the second week of teaching, the Bachelor of Asian Studies (BAS) Program Officer, organised an informal ‘meet and greet’ with the new cohort of students. Staff attended enthusiastically, from course convenors through to the Head of Department.  Emeritus Professor Colin Mackerras, the foundation professor for Asian Studies, took the time to attend which was really appreciated. Students enjoyed meeting the staff in an informal situation. Some students then followed up to discuss the program and were able to share some of their concerns or hopes for their studies. Importantly, students also met each other and made new friends within the BAS program.

Later in the year, I had the opportunity to present at a Uni-Reach event for senior students (held at the Multi-Faith centre) presenting the topic ‘Asia: Economic Transformation and Opportunity’. The session was a lot of fun and students really engaged in discussion. I am very grateful to Dr Tapan Sarker who attended in the latter part of the session and further engaged students on business and the environment in Asia.

Uni-Reach advised that 33 students attended the session and that feedback was ‘very positive’ with students ‘thoroughly enjoying’ the session.

I have also had the pleasure of running an interactive lecture and workshops at Logan for the senior school student ‘university experience’ cohort. After having met some of these potential students in the Uni-Reach session, I am looking forward to engaging with them in what should be a more in-depth but still relatively informal university experience.

I believe these initiatives engage potential and current students. The first year BAS students are able to speak freely with staff and break down the formal barrier which can be daunting for school leavers entering university. The senior school students were similarly able to relate to staff and mentors in a relaxed environment which allowed them to feel more comfortable engaging with staff and indeed each other without anxiety.

Staff working together, even in an informal, unstructured way, is a vital ingredient in our engagement with both new and potential Griffith students. None of us are an island and the above engagement experiences were about a collective effort.

Whilst the above details engagement with potential and newly arrived Griffith students, such staff-student connectivity is a vital component in the overall goal of Griffith to enhance our engagement. Along with the potential for new Griffith enrolments or retention of current Griffith students, there is also the added benefit of students meeting each other and forming friendships.

Dr Paul Howard (Program Director, Bachelor of Asian Studies)