Internship Scheme 2022

Six graduate interns participated in our 2022 Student Experience Internship Scheme, spending 10 weeks working with staff to co-develop and carry out an educational research project into students' experiences. 

The programme received a gold award from the Oxford University Careers Service for its excellent support and professional development structures.

The aim of the internship project was to gather information on students’ access to services which support the development of their academic literacies across the collegiate University. 

Gold badge internship office 2022

The project aimed to further the following education-related commitments in the University's Strategic Plan 2012-24:

  1. Attract and admit students from a wider range of backgrounds (Commitment 1).
  2. Offer an excellent academic experience to all students and equip them to excel in whatever they choose to do (Commitment 2).
  3. Refresh the University’s rich academic environment (Commitment 3). 

The Student Experience Internship Scheme 2022 was supported by the Access Fund, the collegiate University’s dedicated fund for widening participation projects, created from college contributions.

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Our 2021 cohort of student experience interns worked to explore and establish ways to support new student arrivals in the 2021-22 academic year to take account of the considerable disruption caused by COVID-19 to their education in schools and colleges.

Their work supported the Oxford Transition Support webpages, which provide offer holders and new students a single destination to access academic support from central services, academic departments and colleges. The pages point to resources from 14 academic departments, 29 colleges and six central services.  

The final report from the 2021 student experience interns (SSO required) makes a number of recommendations for maintaining and building on this support in the longer term, recognising that the pandemic has revealed existing gaps in the provision of ongoing, in-course transition support and barriers to uptake.

Their overarching recommendation is that there should be a university-wide commitment to making academic literacy development a normal and continuous part of academic life at Oxford for all students, embedded within and throughout disciplines, and complemented by locally available specialist support where needed and regular awareness raising communications.

The final report was circulated and discussed at various committees, including Senior Tutors Committee, Graduate Committee, Taught Degrees Panel and Education Committee where considerable support was expressed for the scope and emphasis of its recommendations. 

Following these discussions, questions have been raised over the best timing, content, and audiences for any centrally provided courses to sit alongside the resources made available on the Oxford Transition Support webpages. 

To support the continuation of this work, the Centre for Teaching and Learning was joined by six graduate interns in summer 2022 to work as partners with academics, educational developers and other key stakeholders to gather information on what students need from centrally provided courses and resources to support the development of their study skills and academic practices.  

The interns worked to: 

  • Gather information on the awareness and access that students have to courses, resources and services, tailored to the ways of teaching and expectations at Oxford, to support their academic development  
  • Map the needs for development at transition points along the student lifecycle  
  • Identify the enablers and barriers that students experience in accessing and participating in the support that is available  
  • Explore the interactions between the provision of relevant courses and resources, opportunities to develop academic literacies within the curriculum, and specialist one-to-one support services  
  • Make recommendations for the topics, timing, formats and modes of support to sit alongside the Oxford Transition Support webpages. 

Follow the links below to find out more about our student experience interns in 2022.




Read an abridged version of the project report (SSO required)

Read a full version of the project report (SSO required)

The student interns worked alongside staff to develop a research project that would satisfy the project aims. 

Over the course of the internship, the team conducted and analysed:

  • a qualitative student survey, which received 162 responses from students across the divisions 
  • semi-structured interviews with 18 students at varying levels of study and across divisions 
  • a case study of an Oxford college 
  • an in-person voting system that challenged assumptions about students’ understandings of their academic expectations and ability to ask their tutors or supervisors for academic skills development support. 

The team then put together:

  • a report detailing their findings from this qualitative educational research project
  • a series of recommendations that the University could consider based on these findings
  • student journey maps
  • example resources that staff could further develop for distribution. 

The project has contributed to preparing the evidence base and scoping necessary to take forward the recommendation from the Academic Transition Working Group for consistent and fair access to academic literacies support at the time that students need it. The interns’ focus on gathering evidence of the barriers that students face as they transition throughout their degrees is informing ongoing work in the Centre for Teaching and Learning to improve this support and gather evidence on the impact of transition support provided in recent years.

In the long term, the purpose of the review and improvement of academic skills support prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic will reduce demand on specialist services (eg welfare support in colleges and the Disability Advisory Service) and contribute to the elimination of Oxford’s awarding gaps.


I enjoyed working in partnership with academics, educational developers, and other key stakeholders. This was a great opportunity to better understand the wider University context and improve academic support for current and future students. It was very gratifying to be given so much responsibility in the internship and I’m very satisfied with the results the other interns and I have produced. I was able to attend a conference on student transitions on behalf of the CTL. It was interesting to consider how the research of other institutions presented in this webinar might be applied at Oxford to make staff-student partnerships more effective. At the beginning of the project, it was my goal to comprehensively understand how data analysis is carried out, and to feel competent in doing it myself. I now feel extremely confident in this, thanks to the hands-on experience I’ve gained. Overall, I was so encouraged by this internship that I now hope to pursue a career in education policy. 

Zahra Grieve, 2022 student intern

Before going into the internship, I imagined that this would be “work”, during which I would just need to do whatever my line manager told me, like finding relative resources and doing paperwork. However, I surprisingly found that this was more like a research project rather than “internship work”. We, the interns, could and needed to decide what we wanted to look at, research, and produce under the guidance of the general aims of this project. Therefore, from the very beginning, I needed to embrace the uncertainty of this project, with independent and critical thinking. I am proud of what we designed, the data we collected, the recommendations we made, and the final outputs we produced. 

Moreover, the skill I improved the most was professional communication with others. This was the first time I worked in an English-speaking working environment. Brainstorming, attending regular meetings, sitting in the Project Advisory Group, and even making jokes as we worked helped me to improve my communication skills and teamwork ability with my colleagues. During the process of data collection, I also conducted several interviews, which I enjoyed and learned a lot from. In my previous research, I mostly dealt with written works and collected data from historical documents. Therefore, this internship provided me with precious experience in collecting empirical data from living human beings and interacting with others during the research. It has definitely strengthened my skills to do qualitative research and improve my ability to effectively communicate with research participants in a professional way and with a professional aim. 

Zihao He, 2022 student intern

Before I started the internship, I was expecting to take a supporting role in an on-going project. But it actually turned out to be a project with the interns as the leading roles, where we needed to build it up from 0 to 1. Here are the two most important aspects that I learned from this 10-week internship: 

✓ Communicating: Communication here involves many aspects. Firstly, I improved my skills in exchanging ideas with the teammates and in persuading them when we have different opinions. Secondly, communication also involves communicating with the interviewees. Especially, I grasped how to drag the topics back while not making the interviewees feel uncomfortable. 

✓ Scheduling: Before this internship, I thought scheduling only means arranging the work well. But it turns out that embracing the changes of the original schedule is also important. Speaking more specifically, do take it easy when the original schedule is delayed due to some unexpected changes! 

Daotong Hu, 2022 student intern

The internship helped me develop crucial skills to succeed in areas such as teamwork, research, organisation, self-management, and public speaking. Additionally, I learnt to adopt a more flexible and inclusive approach to my work.  

The nature of the internship is such that one must be able to work well in a team as well as by oneself. I had not had much experience with team-working during my studies at Oxford, so this was a new and valuable learning experience for me. I learnt to listen to others carefully, keep pace with the progress of other team members, choose tasks that suited my strengths as a team member the best, and delegate to others. Our strong rapport as a team ensured that our final report was the best that it could be. By working independently on tasks, my self-management skills developed further, helping me to transition from university to employment.   

The internship duties rested almost entirely on conducting high-quality qualitative and quantitative research. While I had conducted some surveys and interviews before, the mentoring of the experienced CTL team taught me much more about data collection methods and designing a robust survey/interview. It was my first time analysing data from surveys and interviews on a large scale (upwards of 150 responses). To manage the high volume of data, information and literature that our research generated, it was also necessary to show strong organisation and analysis skills. With the assistance of my line manager, I was able to pick up and improve these abilities on the job.

During the internship, our team presented findings to the Project Advisory Group (PAG) Committee, which was made up of key stakeholders and representatives from across the university. This was a great opportunity for me to develop confidence and public speaking skills. When our ideas were debated by the members of the committee, I was also able to practise showing the courage to put forward my perspective, even as one of the most junior members present in the room. It was empowering and illuminating to discuss our findings as former students directly with those in positions of authority; PAG meetings were definitely a highlight of the internship.

Shreya Manna, 2022 student intern

When I first got the internship with the CTL, I could not have expected how much responsibility we would be given or the skills that I have been able to develop. On this internship, I was able to gain research experience and listen to students' academic journeys through conducting interviews - an experience I enjoyed hugely! The interviews asserted to me the importance of improving academic skill support for students at Oxford and whilst our meetings with senior university stakeholders could be nerve-wracking, I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with them to ensure our project had the reach and impact to improve the academic support provided to students. Lastly, the staff at the CTL were incredible in supporting us throughout the internship and I am delighted that my first job since graduating was such a positive one.

Joanna Williams, 2022 student intern

This internship has been a valuable journey for me where I developed my skills in teamwork and using resources effectively. We worked together with university staff over ten weeks to study and propose recommendations on supporting students academic transitions. Working with people from different backgrounds can really broaden your horizons, help you analyse problems more holistically and find better solutions. As an international student at Oxford, I am keen to bring my understanding of international students’ and postgraduate students’ experience to the project, and I am also excited to see the recommendations made by our team will have a positive impact on all Oxford students, including myself.

Runyi Yao, 2022 student intern

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