Department of Biology Teaching and Scholarship Seminar Series


Tuesday 11 September 2018, 12.00 noon

Dr. Maggy Fostier

Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences, at The University of Manchester.


PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) as a versatile and adaptable peer support scheme that helps 1st year students settle down at University


PASS is a peer support scheme whereby experienced higher year students (‘Leaders’) volunteer to support and facilitate the learning of 1st year students (‘participants’). During an hour long timetabled weekly session, participants are invited by their Leaders to discuss and solve as a group the academic problems which they have identified that week, thus promoting self-directed learning practices and helping them develop as independent learners.

In 2005, we launched PASS for our 480 Biosciences first year undergraduates in association with two of our most challenging lecture units with the aims to:

  • To provide participants with a supportive environment to assist the transition to HE.
  • To support participants with their understanding of course material.
  • To support participants with the development of their study skills.
  • To increase peer interaction and install a sense of community within our large cohorts.

The initiative was deemed a great success, so the following year, PASS became generic to the whole 1st year course (instead of being linked to a specific unit). Our mentoring and PASS schemes also merged and our Leaders are now present during Welcome Week activities too. PASS is now one of our main tool to assist transition to HE.

This presentation will introduce our peer support scheme and its benefits to our students established through a 5 year evaluation. It will also aim to demonstrate what happens in a typical PASS session.

Location: The Williamson Rooms

Host: Setareh Chong

For information contact setareh.chong@york.ac.uk



Thursday 5 July 2018, 11.00 AM

Professor Paul Wakeling
Department of Education (Head)
University of York


Survey Design in Higher Education

This talk will provide an overview of important considerations for those planning to undertake a social survey, with special emphasis on surveys of HE students. Among other things, this will include whether a survey is the best instrument for the research question at hand; sampling; question design; mode of administration; incentives; response rates and bias; reliability and validity. The aim will be to draw on survey methodology research, example surveys and first-hand practical experience.


Location: M052

Host: Setareh Chong