The Framework for Personal Academic Tutoring

The Framework for Personal Academic Tutoring

How are personal academic tutors allocated?

All students will be allocated a named Personal Academic Tutor from their course or subject on entry to the University.  Undergraduate students will normally have the same Personal Academic Tutor for the duration of their studies, although subjects may decide that Personal Academic Tutoring in the final year of an Honours degree is best supported through the Independent Study or Major Project supervisor.  Joint Honours students will be allocated a Personal Academic Tutor for one of their subjects and given a named contact to facilitate access to academic support for the other subject.  Post-graduate students will be allocated a Personal Academic Tutor; this may in some cases be the course leader.

How often are meetings?

  • An initial meeting, normally during Welcome Week for Undergraduate students, or within the first three weeks of the start of the academic year for all other students
  • A series of planned one-to-one or group sessions (group sizes may vary depending on course and curriculum needs) for tutees
  • A minimum of four meetings during the academic year for all first year undergraduate students, and three meetings in the second and third years of study;  a minimum of two meetings for post-graduate students
  • Meetings timed to coincide with key points such as induction/transition, assessment results or module selection
  • Personal Academic Tutors will make tutees aware of when they are available and how to arrange a meeting.

Personal Academic Tutoring should be a planned and scheduled set of meetings with clear purpose, activity and outcomes, to reflect the focus of the system.  The course approach to Personal Academic Tutoring should be communicated and explained to students at the start of the year. 

What form should the meetings take?
The aspiration is that all courses will be able to schedule at least two meetings on a one-to-one basis; however there is some flexibility in the first year of implementation.  So it may be appropriate to consider a mix of group and individual tutorials.

There are occasions when having a group meeting may be valuable, depending on the purpose or focus of the meeting.  For example if the information being discussed is the same for all students, e.g. explaining the Personal Academic Tutor role or facilitating student academic development activity, it may help students to be able to discuss these matters with other members of the group.  For this reason it may be appropriate for the initial meeting to be undertaken as a group, to help the tutees make friends and establish peer support.   The Personal Academic Tutor group may be the one constant group to which the student belongs throughout their University career.  It therefore has the potential to establish a sense of belonging to the University and provide a stable network of peer support.

Other meetings are best held with individuals, where the information will be different for each student or confidential to them, e.g. when discussing module choices, assessment feedback and any personal issues the student might have.  The Personal Academic Tutor may be the one member of academic staff with whom the student has a consistent association throughout their studies and this relationship is therefore important in establishing a connection with the University.  If the Personal Academic Tutor is approached by a student experiencing difficulties it is important to offer a private environment for the meeting.