Academic Personal Tutoring
Top tips for how to be an effective Personal Academic Tutor
As we start this semester within the context of an unprecedented global event, it is more important than ever to check in on our students and ensure that they are receiving the necessary academic, personal development and welfare support and guidance, to enable them to thrive in this challenging environment. Supporting our students transition effectively into university life is a crucial part of the Personal Academic Tutor role.
We therefore continue to encourage Personal Academic Tutors to be interested in each individual student through meeting with them, as this is a really important part of the student experience and a key thing valued by students in the Programme Survey in May. However, these meetings can only take place in person where the facilities are suitable – that is social distancing can be maintained and there is suitable ventilation. The face covering policy also applies.
It is really important that all students from all backgrounds are supported to succeed in and progress from HE. Please be sensitive to the fact that not everyone will want to share any issues they are having in a group setting, and make sure that you create an inclusive environment in the meeting in which everyone has the opportunity to speak. You can always make an offer for students to connect with you 1-2-1 after a group meeting to ensure that we are inclusive by design.
Here are our top tips for how to be as effective as possible:
1. Meet with students as soon as possible in the semester
This can be in a group of 5-6 students or on a one-to-one basis, to see how they are adapting to a new way of learning. You should meet in a booked room, open area, or via MS Teams. Similarly, dissertation/project supervision, which might involve 1 student, could be in an office if it is appropriate, or moved to an open area, but could also be conducted via MS Teams.
2. Arrange a follow-up meeting
As part of your first meeting, make sure to establish the expectations for yourself and the tutees, and arrange a follow-up meeting. If you initially met with a group of students, try to meet on an individual basis in these follow-up meetings.
3. Prepare in advance of meetings
Tailor your meetings depending on which Year / Programme a student is on and take the time to prepare potential questions to chat through with students in advance, to make sure your meetings are structured, focused and purposeful. Encourage students to do the same. Make sure to chat to students about their academic, wellbeing and development needs. Examples of good questions to ask can be downloaded below.
4. Make a record of the meeting
Use Co-Tutor to record when you met with a student and what was discussed. This is quick and easy to do and you can make use of the default phrases in the drop down menus if you wish. The most recent version of guidance on how to do this can be found below. Please note that we are currently reviewing our Co-Tutor guidance and that this will be updated.
5. Familiarise yourself with the key places which you may need to signpost students to
Students may discuss different situations with you which they are facing. As a Personal Academic Tutor, you should signpost students to professional advice rather than try to solve the problem yourself. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the relevant support offerings available through Student Services and how students can access them. Some of the key ones are as follows:
- Disability Support Team
- Mental Wellbeing Teams (Wellbeing Advisers, Counselling Service and Mental Health Support Team)
- Study Support Service
- Mathematics Learning Support Centre
- Academic Language Support Service
- Student Advice and Support Service
- Careers Network
- Wardens Service
- Centre for Faiths and Spirituality/Chaplaincy
- University Medical Centre
6. Encourage goal setting
Consider how you can support students to set realistic and appropriate academic and/or personal targets for the forthcoming semester/year, to help provide them with a clear focus and direction. There is support on how to do this for the students in the Personal Best Goal Setting and Planning element (see below).
7. Encourage students to engage with Personal Best
Personal Best can help a student to maximise their potential whilst at Loughborough and stand out to future employers, so make sure to encourage students to engage with the different aspects of this. Students will be able to gain an additional Personal Best award alongside their degree. More details about the role of a Personal Academic Tutor in Personal Best can be found below.
Please note - all new first and Foundation year students have been asked to complete the Ready-Set-Loughborough badge before arrival this year. Not all have done so, therefore please encourage them to review the content. After this, it is worth encouraging them to start on the Study Skills digital badge next.
Co-Tutor is one of the key corporate systems we use to support students. Please click the link below to find out more information.