Fifteen staff members at The University of the South Pacific (USP) have been accredited as Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) Supervisors by the Australasian National Centre for PASS at Griffith University in Australia.
The 15 USP staff were accredited after participating in a two-and-a-half-day training workshop at the USP Laucala Campus. The PASS Supervisor workshop was delivered by International Certified Trainer Sarah Amos (International Centre for Supplemental Instruction, University of Missouri, Kansas City) and Associate Professor Michelle Whitford (Director of the Australasian Centre for PASS, Griffith University).
Associate Professor Michelle Whitford said, “PASS provides students with a comfortable learning zone and encourages them to work together in a collaborative environment. This helps them with their studies and also helps them to understand each other. They also build a trust with their Peer Leaders that might not necessarily be there with a lecturer,” Professor Whitford explained.
She said, “To become a PASS-accredited university, you must have at least one accredited PASS Supervisor on staff. The fact that USP has 15 makes it a solid and well-coordinated programme.”
Professor Whitford said the two-and-a-half-day training allowed the staff to learn how to plan, implement and evaluate a PASS programme at the university.
“The PASS Programme involves hiring students who are called PASS Leaders, and the Leaders are the ones who deliver the PASS Sessions to the students, not the staff who are being accredited. The accredited PASS Supervisors organise and manage the program, including training of the PASS Leaders “who then roster on and deliver PASS Sessions to students”.
Professor Whitford also highlighted that the PASS Programme at USP is the largest in the region by far. They have noticed great expertise and knowledge from the now accredited staff and PASS Supervisors.
USP Team Leader Learning Support, Ms Afshana Anzeg, said, “This training gives accreditation to the Student Learning Specialist staff to become PASS Supervisors so that we can run the PASS Programme, which is a buddy programme or a peer programme to enhance the learning support for our students. This support will help our students engage in collaborative learning and ensure a lower attrition rate.”
“The whole region needs to be considered when it comes to support for our students. To ensure equity, we got all our staff from the regional campuses to come and attend the training and be certified so we can implement this programme in all our campuses in Semester 2.