VU mentoring program receives national award

A Victoria University program that brings together struggling accounting students with fellow classmates for weekly mentoring sessions has been granted a $10,000 citation award from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC).

Known as Peer-Assisted Study Sessions, or PASS, the program offers an invaluable service for first-year accounting students requiring a little extra help.

The award was given to project coordinators Dr Gill Best, Dr Darko Hajzler and Ms Lily Wong for outstanding contributions to student learning.

 "The award is important as it recognises not only the work of the staff team over a long period of time, but is a tremendous reflection on the great work of student mentors," said Dr Best.

The program was first piloted in 2003 when organisers recognised that only a small percentage of the 1000 students enrolling each semester in VU's Bachelor of Business degree had any accounting background to tackle a compulsory accounting subject, Accounting for Decision-Making.

PASS focuses on enriching the student educational experiences of mentees, by helping them boost their accounting scores through face-to-face and on-line mentoring sessions, as well as of mentors, who receive training and development opportunities.

Dr Hajzler said the ALTC award acknowledged that students could be recipients as well as providers in the learning process. 

In 2009, third-year VU Bachelor of Marketing student, Samantha Mackley, was named outstanding new leader by the National Centre for Peer-Assisted Study Sessions for her work. Samantha has now been appointed as VU's inaugural student peer mentoring marketing manager.

Samantha first heard about VU's PASS program when she was looking for extra accounting help herself in her first year. She obtained a High Distinction in the subject as a mentee, then trained as a peer mentor as a way of giving back to the program.

The ALTC awards' ceremony will be held on 5 August at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Media contact:

Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer,
Marketing & Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph:  (03) 9919 5487; mobile:  0403 556 001.

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