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Transition & Induction Experiences of WP Students

Lead Institution: Bournemouth University
Collaborating with: STEMNET, University of Bath, University of the West of England

Project Summary

Exploration and enhancement of transition and induction experiences of students starting on HE STEM programmes in the SW region, with a focus on widening participation students.



To investigate and unpick the transition and induction experiences of STEM students, this project adopted two distinct approaches:

  1. Arranged seminars for those with experience and interest in the field to share knowledge and good practice. An associated JISCMail Group was established to encourage discussion around practitioners interested in the first year experience for undergraduate students studying STEM.
  2. Interviewed ambassadors who were paid or volunteers and who, through the likes of STEMNET or other STEM programme, worked with widening participation groups (usually in schools) in order to raise aspirations to higher education STEM study. The aim of the interviews was, through ambassadors, to gain an insight into the expectations, fears, barriers and assumptions of science by young people.


  • 'Transition' and 'Induction': the period shortly before arrival at university and into the first two weeks of term.
  • 'Widening Participation': any student coming from a non-traditional background, particularly from under-represented groups.
  • STEMNET ambassadors (STEMNET): promote their skills to young learners, actively encourage them to enjoy STEM subjects, and inform them about the unique career opportunities that are available to them.

Aims & Objectives

The aim of the project was to:

Explore and enhance the transition and induction experiences of widening participation students starting on STEM programmes in the SW region in order to inform the development of more inclusive transition support and induction programmes that meet the specific needs and expectations of these students.

The project:

  1. Held a variety of seminars that helped to gather, document and share current good practice in the field of transition and induction
  2. Focused on existing good practice models for enhancing transition in particular, the Maths Cafe model and Teacher Advisory Boards
  3. Produced a range of briefing papers that: summarised findings from project work; highlighted other relevant projects across the sector and captured core learning from project seminars
  4. Produced a case study of STEM ambassadors, highlighting the particular needs, expectations and experiences of youg people about to start at university
  5. Informed by a better understanding of the needs of students coming to study STEM programmes in the SW, produced transition guidelines for universities so that they are better able to effectively support the transition of STEM students

Staff involved

Christine Keenan
Project lead, Bournemouth University

Penny Mitchell
Project coordinator, Bournemouth University

Heather Campbell

Iryna Withington
University of Bath

Lisa Benjamin
University of Bath

Makis Malliris
University of the West of England