Frontiers Session: Professional Standards for UK Personal Tutoring and Advising

Ben Walker (University of Derby)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

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Session Outline

The Higher Education Research Act established a regulatory framework and the Teaching Excellence Framework with associated metrics for student retention, progression and employability. As a key site in meeting these requirements, the significance of personal tutoring is clear. Despite this, according to existing institutional research, there is a need for developmental support, greater clarification on the requisite competencies, and adequate recognition for those undertaking this challenging role. Moreover, arguably compounding these concerns is the lack of distinct professional standards for personal tutoring and advising against which to measure effective practice. This research draws on data gathered from a survey of practitioners designed to determine the demand for national personal tutoring standards, identify the competencies which may populate them, and determine the recognition with which they could be associated. Additionally, it evaluates the relevance, adequacy and usefulness of existing standards such as the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in HE. Important findings include a significant demand for a set of specific standards for personal tutoring and advising. Justifications provided for this and the opposing view are examined. Clarity for both individual practitioners and institutions was stipulated along with meaningful recognition and reward for this work which is considered highly important and yet ‘invisible’. The surveyed professionals in the field identified relevant potential content along with illuminating the debate about the relationships between personal tutoring, teaching and professional advising roles. Valuable critical analysis of standards, recognition and reward also emerged. This is considered by discussing the connection between standards and changes to practice, responses to policy developments and the purpose of ‘standards’ in comparison to ‘guidance’. The paper proposes that the introduction of bespoke standards is a necessary response to alleviate some of the current tensions which beset personal tutoring and advising in higher education.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
R1 - Build advising and tutoring relationships through empathetic listening and compassion for students, and be accessible in ways that challenge, support, nurture, and teach
P1 - Create and support environments that consider the needs and perspectives of students, and respect individual learners