13 November 2019
Before the start of term, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, successfully ran its first ever, fully-inclusive, Bridging Week. The concept of the college’s unique Bridging Week was introduced to support and bring together all of its first year undergraduate students and aimed to help attendees settle into student and college life from both a social and academic perspective; a structured, comprehensive and diverse induction process.
Before the fun and chaos of Freshers’ Week, the Bridging Week, where food and accommodation was paid for by College, welcomed all students, regardless of background, to experience collegiate and university life at Cambridge. It allowed students to familiarise themselves with their surroundings, visit departments and experience their first Formal Hall. They also got to meet their tutors, their directors of studies and supervisors. They were given a subject specific piece of work to produce for, or discuss at, a mini supervision (in-college small group teaching session). The College put together a short programme of academic skills workshops and induction sessions to help prepare students for the coming Term. These will carry on throughout the year and students will be able to access them as and when they need them.
There was a strong emphasis on socialising, so the new arrivals could meet their whole year group in college and start making friends. It also gave them the opportunity to build a support network. Matriculation took place during the Bridging Week, putting another milestone out of the way before the beginning of term.
Leading the initiative is Jane Greatorex, Senior Tutor at Lucy Cavendish College and Director of Studies in Pre-clinical Medicine and Veterinary Sciences. She says:
“The Bridging Week was a huge success and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and constructive. The key difference between this and other bridging programmes is that no one is singled out. We believe that all our first year undergraduates will benefit from this initiative and we will be surveying the effects of the week on academic progress and student well-being throughout the academic year. Following feedback from the students and academics involved, we will be taking this forward and it will be a constant feature at the start of the academic year here at Lucy Cavendish.”
“It gave us an opportunity to understand Cambridge life and to be aware of things pertaining to work, social and academic life now, rather than being composed during term time which would be really overwhelming. It also allows us to see Cambridge before the term rush hits, which allows us to settle in better. I think the week has been fantastic and I feel really prepared to take on Cambridge life!”
“It was very inclusive, very positive. Every obstacle was overcome – everyone was warm-hearted and ready to help. I really got an idea of what it is like to live and stay at Lucy.”
“I really liked that we had a chance to meet our tutor and DoS, and being introduced to the way college and supervisions work. It was also a really good opportunity to meet the rest of the students.”
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