Jess Hankins

Job title
Student Success Officer
Talking about
Using research and data

Tell us a bit about yourself

I originally studied French and Politics then taught English, including two years living in Poland. After volunteering with VSO in Nigeria, I came to Leeds to do an MA in Global Development in Gender and began my role as Student Success Officer after I graduated. I’m passionate about travelling, languages and volunteering.

Are you able to sum up your role in one sentence? 

Sharing knowledge, collaborating with others and starting initiatives to create an environment in which students have the greatest chance of succeeding in their degree and beyond graduation.

Tell us about some of the work that’s going on in the Faculty of Social Sciences to support Student Success

Last year we ran a peer mentoring pilot scheme and are building on this learning to develop peer support provision to help new students with their transition to university, while helping mentors gain employability skills. I’m also launching a Mature Student Network, which will allow mature students to connect, and signpost them to specific resources and services to support their time at university.

What is your favourite thing about the job? 

I love being able to work on projects that directly engage students in my faculty. It’s great to know that something you have proposed and worked hard to make happen has had a positive impact on students, and I enjoy the process of collaborating with School staff and students to make the initiative as beneficial as possible.

What are the key things that need to be in place for a student to be able to enjoy their university experience? 

Defining enjoyment and success at university is individual to every student, but I’d say it’s important to have a learning environment where the diversity of views and experiences are valued and included. Whether that’s reflected in the curriculum or considered when planning social activities, it’s a key factor in helping everyone in the academic community feel like they belong.