Sport & Exercise Science educational workshops for schools in and beyond Lincolnshire
This project focuses on outreach activities delivered in the School of Sport and Exercise. Throughout the year, the School receives requests to run educational workshops from schools in Lincolnshire and beyond. With an increase in interest in these activities over the last two years, it was necessary for us to enhance our capacity to cope with the volume of requests and ensure that we could facilitate each group that wished to visit the Human Performance Centre. With the considerable demands on staff during the academic term, we have recruited students to contribute to these activities. Since taking over as joint coordinators of outreach activities in the School in December 2017, we have worked closely with our student cohorts. At the start of this academic year, an information notice seeking students to join the outreach volunteer list was posted on the School of Sport and Exercise Science site on Blackboard. In addition, calls for volunteers were also disseminated through the personal tutoring system within the School. In turn, this provided us with a large pool of students who we could approach upon receiving requests. As coordinators, myself and Dan work directly with the students, providing them with support and mentoring throughout.
Over the last 20 months, several quantitative markers of success are apparent. The number of visits for outreach activities (i.e., within the School or staff/students going directly to the location) increased by 60% this year, moving from 15 to 25 visits. In total, the School engaged with 20 external groups in 2018-19, which represented a 66% increase on the previous year. The number of staff involved in outreach activities (n = 15) remained consistent across this period, but we have managed to cope successfully with the increased volume thanks to the exceptional contribution of our students, which totalled over 270 voluntary hours this year. Most notably, 72 students from across all programmes in the School contributed to the delivery of outreach activities in 2018-2019. This marked a more than three-fold increase from the number of students (n = 22) involved in 2017-2018. Another pleasing marker of success is that 12 students, ranging from first year to PhD level, led workshops this year, which represented a 300% increase. By the end of the academic year, it is anticipated that over 900 individuals will have engaged with outreach activities delivered by members of staff or students in the School.
After the completion of the final events for the academic year in July, we will circulate a questionnaire to the students involved in the activities to obtain quantitative and qualitative feedback on this project, which will inform the future delivery of this project. While no findings from this project have been disseminated externally, a number of students have written brief testimonials on their experiences of volunteering for outreach activities, which Trish has collated and are now displayed on the poster boards in the Human Performance Centre. By featuring these testimonials in this area, this will provide further insight into the range of opportunities that exist to gain applied experience alongside a degree in our School, which could be beneficial from a marketing perspective (e.g., a discussion point on open days). In addition, the School Twitter account (@LincolnSportEx) is used to highlight the excellent contribution of our staff and students to outreach activities, with photos and messages uploaded after the completion of each event. Some examples are as follows:
Additionally, a number of our visitors have tweeted about their experiences: