GROW at BU is an approach to developing student resilience and independence, helping learners to reach their full potential. This is achieved by incorporating a wide range of developmental opportunities and mechanisms from across the university into a coherent whole, and by underpinning our interactions with students with coaching behaviours.
It was initially established to support students from widening participation (WP) backgrounds to succeed at university, and it therefore includes some focus for the WP group. However, the underpinning concepts of GROW at BU can benefit all BU students.
GROW at BU aligns with the drive to service excellence and is an important way of us demonstrating our belief that all BU students can succeed given the right environment, opportunities and attitude.
Why was GROW at BU set up?
Students coming to university are adults and need to take control of setting their own goals and achieving them, ideally by the end of their period of study with us.
The GROW at BU project aims to raise all staff awareness of the importance of student autonomy, making it an explicit goal alongside the development of subject-specific knowledge and skills.
Through this approach, students will feel that they have developed academically, socially and personally through a rich and diverse set of experiences at BU, even if they don’t actively notice it. When they look back at their time with us, they will be able to see that they have grown, matured and become much more autonomous in their ability to deal with the world.
What does GROW include?
- Empowering interactions with all staff – utilising principles of coaching to help students to develop skills of identifying and defining problems, reviewing options, seeking support, problem solving on the base of evidence, integrating learning, reflection/learning from experiences
- Encouraging and supporting participation, where appropriate, in the full range of existing BU services, including:
- Support mechanisms – advice services including AskBU, Library and Learning Support, ALS, counselling, and the Faith & Reflection Service
- Community opportunities – volunteering, Student Development Award, and charitable work (e.g. Raising and Giving/RAG)
- Personal development activities – student representation, sports, societies, and SUBU activities.
The GROW at BU toolkit
We have also developed a toolkit to help staff across the university think about how they can enhance their approach to guiding students towards independence.