Transition in, through and out of Higher Education: International case studies and best practice

Ruth Matheson and co-authors take us on a journey through he student life cycle…..

Featuring practice from many of our own NTFs, our book (just published by Routledge) brings together theory and practice around transition throughout the student life cycle. Using themes, reflecting current thinking around transition, the book seeks to present a contemporary look at many of the issues facing staff and students in higher education. It uses the work of Prof Alf Lizzio (Griffith University, Australia) to outline the student lifecycle and unlike many other books that focus on transition into higher education, presents transition ‘in, though, out and back’.

We have sought to bring to you pedagogy and practice related to each theme. Part 1 grounds the book presenting the underlying theory of transition within the contemporary context of higher education, with chapters exploring the life cycle, identifying student need (written by our very own Sally Brown), and the importance to developing belonging, community and professional identity. Part 2 links theory with practice, with each chapter providing a theoretical underpinning for the 31 ‘off the shelf’ case studies (that can be adapted for any level) around themes that meet student needs (i.e. managing and setting expectations, promoting engagement, developing academic integration, developing social integration, and developing self).

Huge thanks must go out to the NTF community for the creative case studies that were offered, many of which are captured in the book. These include; the use of Lego to navigate team working, patchwork assessment to support work-based learners, the T-shirt exercise to develop rapid integration, and the biscuit game. We also sought case studies from around the globe, with contributors from New Zealand, the Netherlands, Portugal, Australia and the USA. For me, the beauty of the case studies is that they provide enough information to enable others to pick up and run with them, through identifying the learning outcomes and providing step-by-step instructions for reproducing and adapting the activities. Most of the case studies are adaptable to all levels of study and capture the whole student journey (undergraduate and post-graduate). Part 3, provides two chapters, one from Lin Norton outling how we might evaluate the effectiveness of our transition interventions, and the final chapter (my personal favourite chapter) featuring student stories, illuminating their transition journeys and providing an insight into the stresses and highlights of journeying through higher education.

This book, for Sue (Tangney) , Mark (Sutcliffe) and myself, has been a journey in itself; working alongside approximately 60 practitioners to bring you their practice from across the globe. We hope that you will find the book theoretically grounded but practical in its approach, providing a plethora of ideas to spark your imagination. Feel free to adapt and improve! Please read the student stories to see what pressures students are facing, from parents, the academic world and themselves and perhaps take a little time to try and ‘walk in their shoes’.


Ruth Matheson

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