Bringing One Page Profiles into Higher Education
28 April 2016
My experience of using One Page Profiles had primarily came from my role as a learning disability nurse. I’d used this tool to support individuals, families and carers to inform the support which individuals wanted or needed. However I had also seen them as something that could support the development of relationships by providing a simple framework to share something about the person.
When I moved into working in the higher education sector I started to look more into how best to support students. I wanted to see whether what I’d learnt through years of working in ‘Practice’ could support my new role, working in the more ‘Theory’ based world of academia.
Specifically, I support student nurses as I work in a Faculty of Health and Social Care on a pre-registration nursing programme. I’m known as a “Personal Tutor”, which means that I work with students throughout their experience of academia, providing pastoral support. I also provide guidance relating to their clinical placement experience, as this is a professional programme.
The need for effective student support
The transition into higher education can sometimes be seen as a very difficult journey, for a range of reasons. For example, young students might be away from home for the first time. On the other hand, mature students (which simply means any student over the age of 21!) may be returning to education, but they are also impacted by the expectation of more independent and self-directed learning.
The role of the personal tutor is identified as being key in supporting the student’s transition. We are there to help them to develop their relationship with the university, knowing what to do, where to go, who to see and how to get support if needed. Although this support stretches across their time with us, the first year experience is one of critical importance in relation to their transition to university life. Despite this, it had been noted that students often had a lack of engagement with their personal tutors in the early days of university life – which is often when it can be most valuable. Something needed to change.
Using my experience in a new sector
I got to thinking about what could be useful for students and staff in relation to starting this relationship on the right footing. Having used One Page Profiles to help build great relationships with people in the learning disability arena, it seemed that they would also be able to work in my new role for the same purpose. The only difference was the audience I was working with, so I decided to give it a try.
I developed my own One Page Profile, that focused on what I thought was important for students to know about me. It included a little about me personally but also something about my professional background. It also explained some of the boundaries of our relationship in relation to accessibility.
When I presented my profile to students and staff within the faculty, it was a great mixed bag of discussion. Staff thought that I shouldn’t introduce anything personal about me to my students, such as the fact that I have two children (even though their picture is on my desk!). The students said that they wanted to know more about me as a professional, where I had worked and where I had come from, as well as how best to get me if they needed me. However, both groups agreed that the format was simple yet effective.
Ideas for next steps include looking at whether students could also develop One Page Profiles as a way of introducing themselves to their tutors, and also whether staff members or teams can use them to better introduce themselves to each other and work more collaboratively.
So, where next? Well, my profile is now a part of my official bio page on the university website. I have shared the ideas with other faculties and they can see the benefits to students around developing their university identity. Just goes to show that the worlds of Theory and Practice can work well together after all.
If you’d like to find out more about using One Page Profiles in education, contact Gill Goodwin via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also explore our e-learning modules at www.hsaonlinelearning.org.
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