Enhancing the Student Experience

Pastoral support

Students can access pastoral support from a range of services across the University.

Accommodation Services and Residence Life

Accommodation Services and Residence Life are working to provide accommodation that is not just a place to live and sleep, but a means of supporting and supplementing the intellectual experience found at the University. This is being accomplished by:

  • Introducing ‘Chit chats’ that allow our staff to get to know their residents, enhance site community, make our staff more approachable to students, tailor programming to their interests and needs, and invite direct feedback.
  • Offering online advertising through the Accommodation Services Facebook page, Twitter, Google +, and site-specific Facebook groups that allow Resident Assistants to tailor their events to their specific students and interact with 'Generation F' to address their needs and answer their questions.
  • Offering online booking through myEd for wine and cheese lectures, stress relief events, and excursions, which allows students to use their smartphones to QR from a poster, pay online, reserve a spot and have all the details in one click.
  • Maintaining an active educational effort to promote sustainable habits through bee-keeping classes, events centred on sustainability and a year-long food-waste reduction initiative in the dining facility.
  • Adapting our online e-induction to facilitate the preparation of study groups on arrival in order to promote group work and bring students with similar academic interests together.
  • Giving students the opportunity to discover beautiful Britain through a year-long series of very affordable excursions.
  • Creating a You-Tube channel that explains how to make use of facilities and equipment in student flats.
  • Introducing annual LEARN courses for continuous online training of Resident Assistants and Wardens, access to resources and exchange of ideas.
  • Creating an improved online accommodation map.

Chaplaincy

The Chaplaincy offers pastoral and spiritual support for students and staff of all faiths and none.

Recent improvements include:

  • Redevelopment of the Sanctuary in the central Chaplaincy building and expansion and improvement of the prayer rooms at King's Buildings, as well as more rooms for socialising.
  • Development of the 'What's the University For?' Series, giving students a voice alongside staff
  • Enlarged provision of opportunities to nurture spiritual and mental health, including meditation, Tai Chi, and yoga.
  • Expanded Chaplaincy team to include multiple chaplains across world faiths and Humanism.
  • Weekly 'curries in a hurry', alongside regular FairTrade lunches and new 'First Sunday lunch' and 'Families with Children' event.
  • Collaboration with EUSA Global and the International Office in providing social and cultural events for International and home students.

Student Counselling Service

The Student Counselling Service provides services to help students work their way through difficulties, understand themselves better and find ways of managing their situation.

Additions to their provision include:

  • An extended Bibliotherapy library with the seven most frequently used titles, covering self-help support for issues such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem, perfectionism and anger and stress management, now available as e-books.
  • A new programme of hour long, drop-in wellbeing presentations in Semester 1 covering topics such as emotional wellbeing, relationships, confidence, procrastination, relaxation and exam success.
  • Extended availability of counselling appointments at King's Buildings, Moray House, Edinburgh College of Art and Easter Bush sites along with the introduction of some evening appointments in the Main Library.
  • Pioneering a new initiative, Paws against Stress, in partnership with Canine Concern and EUSA, bringing Therapet dogs onto campus during the exam period - the May events attracted over 200 student participants.

The introduction of the BigWhiteWall also provides online mental health support for students and is available 24/7.

Student Disability Service

The Student Disability Service supports disabled students to fulfil their academic potential by providing advice and support to students with dyslexia, mental health issues and those on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.

They have been able to provide enhanced support by:

  • Extending their reach across University sites, including providing Mental Health Mentor support at Easter Bush.
  • Using Skype to support students at a distance.
  • Introducing a series of 14 student factsheets highlighting disabled students’ rights and responsibilities.
  • Working in partnership with EUSA to introduce a befriending project for students with Asperger Syndrome.
  • Implementing more effective and inclusive technologies to enhance the learning experience of disabled students, individually and at a service operational level.