Sheffield undergraduates achieve national recognition for their contribution to learning and teaching

PASS leaders giving training session

For the first time at the University of Sheffield, three undergraduate students have achieved recognition as Associate Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.

Melissa Weston (Biomedical Science), Michael Osoba (Mechanical Engineering) and Chris Devlin (Civil and Structural Engineering) are among a small number of undergraduate students in the country to be granted Associate Fellowship.

In partnership with academic departments and the 301 Student Skills and Development Centre, the students ran regular Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) to groups of students in lower levels of study. As committed PASS Leaders, they were able to demonstrate the core knowledge and professional values needed to achieve Associate Fellowship.

Peer Assisted Study Sessions in brief:

  • Undergraduate volunteers, known as PASS Leaders, work with new undergraduates to enhance their understanding of modules and develop their study skills.
  • The volunteers, in turn, benefit from the scheme by developing skills that are useful for their course and their future career.
  • Three Sheffield undergraduates are among the first in the UK to achieve recognition as Associate Fellows of the Higher Education Academy through their work as PASS Leaders.

PASS Leaders run regular study sessions for foundation and first-year students to enhance their understanding of course content and develop essential study skills. The sessions are fun, collaborative and interactive. Research has shown that regular attendance at PASS sessions has a correlation with improved academic performance.

Melissa Weston (Biomedical Science)

I applied for the AFHEA to open another door for me in the future, as I am interested in maybe becoming a lecturer.

Melissa Weston

Chris Devlin (Civil and Structural Engineering)

It could help me stand out among multiple applicants for a job and possibly swing a job offer in my favour.

Chris Devlin

Michael Osoba (Mechanical Engineering)

My ability to reflect was greatly enhanced during the application process and this skill has helped me in many ways especially during my undergraduate degree with projects and assignments.

Michael Osoba

PASS group

More about the scheme

Find out more about the PASS scheme and read case studies showing how our students are supporting other students, while developing their own skills and confidence.

What is PASS?

National recognition

The University's Vice-President for Education, Professor Wyn Morgan, said: "I am delighted to see our students getting the credit they fully deserve for their work on the PASS scheme. To have achieved national recognition from the HEA for their contributions to a truly supportive, constructive and vital programme of peer support is a marvellous accolade and reflects brilliantly not only on them but also the scheme as a whole.

"I am a very keen supporter of PASS and I hope these path-breaking awards for our own students will help to embed the scheme further here at the University and enhance its reputation beyond our walls as a sector-leading programme."

To have achieved national recognition from the HEA...is a marvellous accolade and reflects brilliantly not only on our students but also the scheme as a whole.

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education

The PASS Leader volunteers emphasised the positive impact that running the sessions has had on their coursework and job applications. Michael said: “My ability to reflect was greatly enhanced during the application process and this skill has helped me in many ways especially during my undergraduate degree with projects and assignments.”

Melissa said that the scheme was a good stepping stone for future work in higher level teaching: “I applied for the AFHEA to open another door for me in the future, as I am interested in maybe becoming a lecturer. I also think that it shows I am able to go above and beyond what was expected of me as a PASS leader, and that I am a motivated student.”

Chris was also enthusiastic about the scheme’s impact on his CV: “Not only was this helpful for future work with PASS, but for job and placement applications as I was in a better position to write about the skills I had used and built upon in my role as PASS Leader and Coordinator…it could help me stand out among multiple applicants for a job and possibly swing a job offer in my favour.”

Developing the teachers of the future

Dr Nigel Russell, Professional Development Manager for Learning and Teaching – Team Leader, gave more details on the scheme:

I was in a better position to write about the skills I had used in my role as PASS Leader. It could help me stand out among multiple applicants and possibly swing a job offer in my favour.

Chris Devlin, civil and structural engineering undergraduate

"While Sheffield is not unique in having undergraduates with professional recognition for learning and teaching, it is far from common across the sector. The commitment and contribution our PASS facilitators make is one for celebration as we help develop and grow the teachers of the future.

"Undergraduates who work on the PASS scheme have shown their commitment to helping students learn and to their own professional development.

For the three PASS facilitators who have submitted applications for Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA), the assessors were impressed with their commitment to learning and teaching and fully supported their claims for recognition against Descriptor 1 of the UK Professional Standards Framework."

Accreditation for teaching and supporting learning

All three of our newly accredited Associate Fellows gained recognition through the University’s Learning and Teaching Professional Recognition Scheme (LTPRS). This scheme was created to ensure all members of the University who teach or support teaching receive recognition for their contribution to our teaching excellence. Melissa, Michael and Chris are the first undergraduates at Sheffield to gain such recognition.

Find out more

Get a feel for some of the ways current undergraduates can develop skills and make their experience at Sheffield unforgettable.

Peer Assisted Study Sessions

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