CÉIM is an academic peer support scheme for 1st year students at NUI Galway. Initiated by NUI Galway Students’ Union in 2013, CÉIM is currently offered to Engineering, BA Law, Geography, and Political Science & Sociology students. During the 2019/20 academic year, CÉIM will be piloted in the School of Psychology and further rolled out in the School of Law, and will be offered to approximately 1,550 1st year students.
Groups of 1st year students meet weekly throughout the academic year with trained 2nd/3rd year student leaders from the same discipline. CÉIM sessions are student led and are about working in small groups to develop independent learning skills, gain a greater understanding of coursework, develop new skills, and meet people studying the same course. Sessions focus on collaborative learning, and the format is generally quite different to lectures and tutorials. Students often comment on how CÉIM sessions are informal and friendly, yet focused.
CÉIM supports student transition to higher education, health and wellbeing, academic success and progression, and is part of the ecosystem of academic and pastoral supports at NUI Galway.
BACKGROUND AND IMPACT
CÉIM, which means ‘step’ or ‘degree’ in Irish, is a form of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL), also known as Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS). It derives from the Supplemental Instruction model devised in the United States in 1973, which today can be found at over 1,500 universities and colleges in more than 29 countries. International research has consistently shown that PAL schemes deliver benefits for participants, student leaders and universities as a whole.
The research on CÉIM from various disciplines consistently shows that regular CÉIM attendees are more likely to perform better academically than those who attend irregularly or not at all. 1st year students at NUI Galway also consistently report that CÉIM has helped them settle into university life and make friends.
Read an article on CÉIM published in the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education in late 2015. ‘From students to leaders: evaluating the impact on academic performance, satisfaction and student empowerment of a pilot PAL programme among first year students and second year leaders’.