UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy

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1 APPENDIX AC 3/32 (09-10) UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy Recognising that UCL s commitment to provide its students with a first-rate learning experience encompasses both academic and personal dimensions, this document considers in detail how the obligations for provision of Personal Tutoring will be met for Undergraduate and taught Masters students in all parts of the institution. Personal Tutoring for Postgraduate Research students belongs with the Graduate School and is outside the scope of this strategy. 1. Vision Through the UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy, UCL intends that its students: are provided with pastoral support which is tailored to their needs, enabling them to take full advantage of their time at UCL to develop and maintain a healthy and happy outlook on life; are given the opportunity to reflect on their learning and personal development and to discuss and formulate appropriate strategies to fulfil their potential during their studies at UCL; are equipped with a lifelong approach to learning enabling continuing personal and intellectual growth; develop an awareness of the need for professional and career development and receive guidance on the planning and recording of skills development throughout their studies in order to realise their career aspirations; experience the benefits of working with peers and tutors within a supportive atmosphere. 2. This Document This UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy should be read together with the following UCL documents: Guidelines (in preparation) UCL Academic Regulations for Students UCL Learning and Teaching Strategy UK Quality Assurance Agency Benchmark Statements The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) The UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy will also ensure that the principles of relevant UK legislative acts (i.e. the Disability Discrimination Act IV and the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000) are embedded within the way we teach and support student learning. UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy submitted to AC March

2 3. Aims 3.1 to ensure that UCL students are provided with opportunities to reflect on their personal and professional objectives, to plan their skills development and to record evidence for their progress and achievements; 3.2 to facilitate progression of UCL students through their programmes of study and to ensure that students benefit from the best learning experience possible during their time at UCL; 3.3 to challenge, stretch and motivate students at every level of ability and to encourage their development of autonomous learning; 3.4 to develop students reflection on and self-monitoring of the quality of their learning and of the outcomes which they produce. To this end, each UCL Department will be required 3.5 to set up a framework which enables all their students on undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes to have access to Personal Tutorials throughout their studies at UCL, in addition to any arrangements they may make for academic tutorials; 3.6 to ensure that UCL students receive documentation and are fully aware of the range of support available within the departmental context and beyond. In order to provide central support to departments, UCL will 3.7 provide opportunities via an online questionnaire for UCL students to give feedback on a yearly basis on the quality of personal academic and pastoral tutoring they receive. This will give useful data for Departments to discuss their tutoring arrangements through their Departmental Student/Staff Consultative Committee. 3.8 provide a structure for Faculty and Departmental Tutors to work with the Dean of Students (Welfare) & JSSC to review the feedback from students and thereby monitor and enhance the personal tutoring arrangements in operation at departmental level. This will include JSSC s reporting on these matters to Academic Committee annually. 3.9 provide UCL students with an online facility to document their achievements and key skills development and also to facilitate the writing of references by academic staff ensure that the professional development framework for UCL staff provides support for student personal tutoring. 4. UCL Context National and International While Personal Tutoring is a long-standing practice in UK universities, including UCL, the landscape of higher education is changing rapidly to include larger numbers with many students entering from increasingly diverse backgrounds. This only serves to emphasise the importance of Personal Tutoring as a key aspect of the student experience, with the potential to enhance significantly the benefit that the full range of individuals and the student body as a whole can derive from their engagement with learning at UCL. 4.1 UCL is a leading higher education institution within the UK and is highly-regarded internationally as demonstrated by its position in world rankings of universities. It is committed to excellence and innovation in teaching and research; all those who study at UCL are expected to aspire to make a significant contribution to their chosen profession, thus enriching society s intellectual, cultural, scientific, economic, environmental and medical spheres. UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy submitted to AC March

3 4.2 UCL has a clear and progressive vision of what benefits a university education should offer to individual students and to the regional, national and global communities it serves. It aims to equip individuals to be leaders, inspiring others, advancing the boundaries of knowledge and managing change. It aims to empower students to deal with problems of local, national and global significance and thus to encourage personal and professional responsibility. 4.3 UCL is a multi-disciplinary institution offering a wide range of programmes within a multi-cultural environment, in which the student learning experience is enhanced by the size and diversity of the university and by its international research excellence. It has outstanding staff and students from around the world, who are attracted to UCL as a great metropolitan university, situated in the heart of London, with access to major scientific and cultural institutions. 4.4 UCL designs its degree programmes and approves the regulations that apply to these, including the content of those programmes, the learning outcomes, the methods of assessment and the requirements for achievement, utilising external expertise to ensure the quality of its provision and the robustness of its decision-making processes in terms of student achievement. The Personal Tutoring Strategy should help to make these quality assurance processes more visible to students. 4.5 As in the whole of the HE sector, UCL must move forward against a background of constrained resources; such constraints require innovation and flexibility in approaches to student tutoring tailored to the needs of an increasingly diverse and complex student population. 4.6 The UCL Tutoring Strategy recognises changes in the context of higher education and its responsibilities towards society as well as changes in the student community and the expectations and needs of students. The Strategy provides a framework for the institution to address the challenges arising from such changes. Education for Global Citizenship 4.7 UCL s International Strategy provides the framework within which UCL, in keeping with its radical tradition, offers a challenging learning environment to students from a wide range of national and cultural background. It recognises its responsibilities for educating those who will choose to occupy positions of leadership internationally. 4.8 The concept of Education for Global Citizenship and Leadership is a key element of UCL s strategic thinking. UCL aims to produce graduates who are: Critical and creative thinkers; Ambitious but also idealistic and committed to ethical behaviour; Aware of the intellectual and social value of cultural difference; Entrepreneurs with the ability to innovate; Willing to assume leadership roles: in the family, the community and the workplace; Highly employable and ready to embrace professional mobility UCL ensures that the student experience reflects UCL s commitment for its curriculum to address major global issues. Through working with agencies - corporate businesses, public services, NGOs - in the UK and internationally, UCL develops programmes that address the economic need for research-based skills and competences. In this way UCL prepares students to play a pivotal role in both the local and the global economy Personal Student tutoring has a key role to play in encouraging global responsibility through facilitating an approach to learning that reinforces the significance of the global context and that enables the student to encounter challenge with confidence. 1 See UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy submitted to AC March

4 5. Guiding Principles which inform this Strategy 5.1 Excellence. UCL is committed to being a knowledge and education provider of the highest quality and the aim of student tutoring is to contribute substantially to this endeavour. 5.2 Student involvement. A key feature of studying at UCL is that students are encouraged to become independent learners and to take ownership of their development process. It is therefore essential that departments involve students perhaps using student representatives in the review of their arrangements for Personal Tutoring and in agreeing changes where appropriate. A developmental approach is recommended with clear objectives for the first year and with a review process, informed by student feedback, to assess how successful the scheme has been. 5.3 Reflective practice. Reflective practice is perhaps best understood as an approach which promotes autonomous learning and aims to develop students' understanding and critical thinking. Reflection can range from a simple personal review of objective occurrences and subjective responses to them to a deeper process of critically examining assumptions underlying such responses and perceptions. The Personal Tutoring scheme creates a dedicated space to guide students in this process through a variety of learning support facilities: careful questioning by an academic tutor or a postgraduate teaching assistant who acts as a mentor on a one-toone basis or in small groups; working with peers through peer assisted learning (PAL); virtual online tutoring; personal development planning (PDP). 5.4 Pastoral support. The need for pastoral care varies widely amongst students. However, we know that students who do not address such basic needs as good health, the need for safety and security and a sense of belonging may find it more difficult to learn effectively and to meet UCL s high standards of achievement. The Personal Tutoring scheme is an opportunity for each department to provide pastoral support where and when it is needed, empowering the student in dealing swiftly and effectively with issues arising in their engagement with higher education. The UCL Transition Programme, and the peer-mentoring scheme in particular, provide opportunities to foster student participation in UCL s learning community and also to identify and refer firstyear students who may need additional support. 5.5 Student centred support. Personal Tutoring is most effective when it is tailored and responsive to the varying needs and circumstances of individual students. While this may offer challenges in a context of mass higher education, Personal Tutoring is a key principle informing UCL s commitment to each and all of its students. 5.6 Universality. Every student is equally entitled to the support available from Personal Tutoring, irrespective of the nature and extent of their need or the background from which they came to UCL. No student or group of students may be preferred or disadvantaged by the Personal Tutoring arrangements provided by their departments and their Personal Tutors. UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy submitted to AC March

5 6. Personal Tutoring Implementation Plan Departments and Faculties should develop their implementation of Personal Tutoring in accord with the following summary approved by AC in July An updated Action Plan for is given at item Key Principles 1. UCL is committed to embedding Personal Tutoring (with clear guidelines) within departments at undergraduate level. 2. The main objective of Personal Tutoring is to support student learning in the broadest sense. 3. Therefore Personal Tutoring will include taking forward and embedding the UCL Key Skills Agenda. 4. Every department must conform to the new minimum guidelines as defined by the Project Board. 5. Personal Tutoring must be recognised in the departmental workload allocation. 6.2 Key Elements of the New Personal Tutoring Scheme 1. WHO? The reporting structure will be Personal Tutor to Departmental Tutor to Faculty Tutor to Senior Tutor/Dean of Students. All academic staff are expected to contribute to the Personal Tutoring scheme. Graduate students with appropriate training may also be involved. Personal Tutors should remain the same for each student for the duration of their programme of study, where practical. 2. WHEN? Greater frequency of meetings with Personal Tutors in year 1 with a minimum of 5 formal meetings, of which 3 must be one-to-one, with further opportunities for students to drop in on their Personal Tutor. In subsequent years, there should be a minimum of 3 formal meetings per year, with further opportunities for students to drop in on their Personal Tutor. 3. WHAT? The purpose of these meetings will be to support learning and to provide pastoral care. This will identify problems and support the development of key skills in all years of study. In year 1, there should also be involvement with the Transition Programme, as appropriate. UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy submitted to AC March

6 6.3 Action Plan The Personal Tutoring Scheme will be implemented in the session for all Undergraduate students and all taught Masters students. 2. Details of the arrangements for meetings between Personal Tutors and their tutees may vary between departments but each year there must be (i) (ii) at least 5 formal meetings, of which 3 must be one-to-one, for first year Undergraduates and taught Masters students, and at least 3 formal meeting for students in subsequent years. 3. Personal Tutorials will serve as a point of contact for PBIS purposes. 4. The reporting structure will be: Personal Tutor to Departmental Tutor (or Departmental Graduate Tutor for taught Masters students) to Faculty Tutor to JSSC chaired by the Dean of Students (Welfare). 5. JSSC should identify and disseminate good practice in Personal Tutoring. 6. CALT should be available for advice and consultancy. 7. Faculties should submit to JSSC by end of May 2010 documentation that describes the arrangements for the Personal Tutoring systems that their constituent departments intend to use for the session UCL Personal Tutoring Strategy submitted to AC March

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