Enabling postgraduate students to thrive at university via a swift and effective transition

Claire Spencer (University of Bristol)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

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Session Outline

Student transition to university needs to be swift, particularly for postgraduate students on one-year programmes. It also needs to be effective, as students can be reluctant to speak up about issues affecting them, resulting in missed opportunities to close gaps in their academic and personal skills, often impacting their wellbeing. Therefore, preparing students for university life at the earliest opportunity, whilst meet their specific needs, could make tutoring less reactive and improve the students’ experience. I am currently researching postgraduate experiences of and barriers to accessing tutoring (Khatoon and Spencer, 2022), intending to reveal how factors such as language, culture, quality of service and communication may prevent early engagement with tutoring (Lomer and Mittelmeier, 2020; Loomat et al, 2021; Lowes, 2018; Raby, 2020). Bristol, like many other institutions have experienced fast growing postgraduate cohorts (DfE, 2021) and are examining how we balance this with tutoring models and institutional resource constraints. In September 2021 I co-facilitated a Senior Tutor workshop which explored the challenges of both students and tutors in relation to transition.

During this workshop we will explore what ingredients are needed to improve transition to enable tutors to be more proactive and postgraduate students to flourish.

  1. Use my experience, research, and participant polling to set the scene (10 mins)
  2. Breakout sessions (3-4 participants), using a collaboration tool (20 mins):
    • Essential ingredients for success and at what point are they needed?
    • How can tutors contribute to students’ transition?
    • What are the challenges for tutors?
  3. Reflection and emerging themes (15 mins)

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C5 - How equitable and inclusive environments are created and maintained
I3 - HE Provider policies, procedures, rules, and regulations
R3 - Motivate, encourage, and support students to recognize their potential, meet challenges, and respect individuality
P1 - Create and support environments that consider the needs and perspectives of students, and respect individual learners