Crossing disciplinary boundaries: students’ experiences of facilitating a learning support programme at a South African university
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Increased access to higher education has brought into focus the under-preparedness of students for higher education and vice versa. As such, various programmes have been developed to enhance students’ success in universities. In one institution, an administrator and a lecturer collaborated with senior university students to facilitate a learning support programme where the students acted as peer mentors. The study sought to document students’ experiences of facilitating a peer-mentorship programme that targets first year students as well as senior students who were regarded as at risk of academic exclusion. Using a qualitative case study and Bandura’s social learning theory, 30 peer mentors were purposively selected to generate data through a peer mentors’ reflection workshop. Findings of the study suggest that the mentors were more successful in working with first year students than with senior students. The article concludes that, because of the training provided, mentors were knowledgeable about the programme and the resources available to support mentees. Further studies should solicit mentees’ views and experiences of such a programme, especially those reluctant to take part, as that will highlight areas that require attention to raise the participation and academic success of all participants.