Hello everyone! Welcome back! I’m Vienne from Hong Kong, a second-year doctoral student in Education. My first blog post about my VIP experience was published a year ago. Today, here is my sixth instalment on this journey. Ta-daaaah!
Speaking of the continuation, let’s recap what we have done over the summer. Officially the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPs) run during two terms, but our team was happy to do more work after the end of the second semester. In June, we obtained ethics approval from the Psychology Ethics Committee and set up the project survey on Qualtrics. Ella reached out to Anna Boneham and Joshua Hale to discuss the possibility of distributing the survey through their networks. I also shared the survey with the peer review team and the student conference committee at the South West Doctoral Training Partnership. To my surprise, we received valuable feedback from a dedicated respondent on our survey design. Unfortunately, as the survey was out, we couldn’t make changes, but the useful feedback could inform our future work. Finally, we started collecting data! Horray!
This year, we have a team of ten students: five new and five returning members. The VIP Student Introduction Session took place in person on October 11. The VIP management team also had Teams open for anyone who needed to join remotely. This Session provided an incredible opportunity for students to meet each other and discuss the roles and goals of the VIPs. The recording can be accessed here for those who could not attend the meeting.
For us, there are two major changes to our VIP. First, the name of the project changed from “Intergenerational engagement in research and teaching: Challenging stereotypes and promoting positive ageing” to “Creating an age-friendly environment”. As Fiona suggests, putting the project in lay terms could help people better understand our work. Second, our team is meeting in person as things resume normalcy.
Since the meetings are on Tuesday late afternoons with Fiona, the time zone issue prevents me from having live chats with the team (or ♪ midnights will become my afternoons ♪). However, they kindly offer catch-up meetings and detailed minutes prepared by our scribe, Edwina. Also noteworthy is that our meetings are now hybrid and video recorded. So, we can easily retrieve what was discussed just one click away.
Over the past few weeks, we have been working on several initiatives. For example, we hoped to complete the survey study from last year. I volunteered to take up promotional tasks to gather more responses. I want to thank a number of people who provided help and advice on the data collection. They are Emily and Steph from the VIP management team, Fiona from the Doctoral College, Kate Evans from the Department of Communication, the SU Peer Mentoring and Peer-Assisted Learning Team, Joshua Hale, 3SG, and every single member of the team. In particular, we would like to extend our earnest gratitude to Aimee for her timely and unconditional support although she left the VIP upon graduation. The great news is that the responses grew from 46 to 101. Of course, the larger the quantitative sample, the better. But statistically speaking, the 101 responses are sufficient for us to conduct data analysis and run some tests. These will certainly be our next steps.
Last week, we were also pleased to meet Joshua to discuss how the team could support the “Cosy Wednesdays” initiative in Dartmouth House. More updates will be provided in due course. Meanwhile, Man expresses interest in applying for the Alumni Fund grants to secure funding for us to do more work within the VIP. She got in touch with me to talk about how we ran the VIP last year and some potential impact of this VIP on the student learning experience. Although I'm not the best person to offer advice on this grant application, I believe a casual chat would be helpful. Man will contact Fiona to discuss this further when she has a fuller draft of the application.
On a final note, we are sorry to see Ella go as she decided to focus on her study in the final year. She has been a great asset to the team, and we thank Ella for all her contributions. I still remember how we chatted about getting cereal from Fresh and feeding the ducks in one of our summer meetings. While I’ll miss Ella, our conversation, and the ducks, I look forward to collaborating with the new team.