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Understanding Our Values: Academic Excellence and Leadership in College

May 25, 2016

St Andrew’s College this week celebrates the intellectual and academic life of the College during the annual ‘Life of the Mind’ week from 19 – 26 May 2016.

St Andrew’s in recent years has excelled in academic leadership and expanded its offering of academic support for its students. Enrichment opportunities are offered for high achieving students as well as additional support for students who feel they need it. The academic program aims to cater for all students, regardless of degree, discipline or educational institution. It is clear the program is successful, in 2015, nearly a hundred residents achieved a Distinction average or higher in their studies.

Part of the St Andrew’s experience is about supporting students to balance academic and non-academic opportunities at both College and University. This is possible through encouraging and supporting a team of senior students as leaders who engage in peer-based mentoring and support for younger students across academic work, sport, community work and the performing arts.

As a result, in 2016 St Andrew’s launched a new feature of academic support, the Academic Area Tutor program.  Eighteen high achieving residents, both undergraduate and postgraduate students, have been providing tutoring, mentoring and leadership in the community to assist younger students in achieving academic success. The Academic Area Tutors also drive a Sunday afternoon study session in the College’s Dining Hall called ‘Just Write!’ which encourages students to get together for a few hours to simply sit and study with the support of their peers. These sessions are popular and provide a supportive environment for students to work without the possibility of procrastination.

The Academic Area Tutors are offered other opportunities in which to excel, such as giving short talks in the Senior Common Room after Formal Dinner, and engaging with external leaders and mentors at the University of Sydney and UTS. Verity Firth, former NSW Minister for Education and now Director of Equity and Diversity at UTS, spoke at the Academic Area Tutor training day in late February.

These opportunities, teamed with other academic offerings, including an extensive tutorial program, allow students to succeed academically while developing their intellectual and life skills. These are transferable to a range of post-university experiences and careers.

Some of the Senior and Junior Academic Tutors reflect on how college life has impacted them academically and influenced them to become part of this exciting new program for 2016. Read here.

 

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