Supporting growth, development and belonging through peer support networks

Savage, Kathleen (2022) Supporting growth, development and belonging through peer support networks. In: Cardiff Metropolitan University QED Conference 2022, 2022-09-07 - 2022-09-08, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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Peer Support Networks are a key component of academic development provision at Strathclyde University. Through this keynote I will explore, •participant and facilitator views of peer networks; •perceived benefits and challenges of peer networks; •a case study of developing and growing a leadership in learning and teaching network; and •the development of a peer network toolkit. Teams from Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian university's came together to evaluate participant views of peer networks. The research explored themes such as participants’ motivation, conceptions of learning and teaching and well-being. By creating spaces for socialisation outside of 'routine' work settings, the study suggests that peer support networks carry intrinsic benefits and can be effective in breaking down perceived disciplinary 'bubbles', barriers and hierarchies. Peer support networks appear to provide important spaces for reflection, practice-sharing, collaboration, and career development in an atmosphere of encouragement and acceptance. The study also sheds light on the importance of network facilitators. Therefore, links to our toolkit aimed at supporting new and existing peer support network facilitators across the sector will be provided. The Leadership in Learning and Teaching Network is one of four active staff peer support networks at the University of Strathclyde. I will reflect on my experiences of co-facilitating this network. I will explore how the network was initially developed and implemented, then abandoned and re-established, and ultimately now thriving. I will reflect on the key successes and challenges, and what we have learned along the way. Finally, I will recommend a set of resources for those who may be interested in establishing or further developing peer support activities within their own context.