Practice Sharing: Supporting International Students Engagement with Academic Advising/Personal Tutoring

Melissa Jacobi (Sheffield Hallam University)
Sarah Churchill (Sheffield Hallam University)

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 2:30 PM - 3:15 PM

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Session Outline

This session will be an interactive practice sharing workshop outlining strategies/practice that supports the engagement of International students with Academic Advising/Personal Tutoring.

The workshop leader will draw alignment to the Semester in my Shoes (SIMS) reciprocal mentoring project and will share how based on the findings of this project Hallam implemented sessions during International Orientation week that introduces the role of an Academic Adviser, the wider Student Support Triangle at Hallam and related additional support services such as the Skills Centre in an engaging and student-centred way.

Delegates will then be encouraged to share their own experiences and practice related to encouraging International students’ engagement with advising and tutoring to help support the increased engagement with this key support mechanism by International students by providing an overview in the session any similar practice they have used to engage international students with advising and tutoring.

Practice sharing from Hallam will highlight how as an institution we have sought to address the issue that our International student participants in SIMS told us that they have no prior experience of the role of an Academic Adviser (or Personal Tutor), and so do not realise the benefits to be gained by engaging with them. They also identified that in their home countries they are often used to a significant power dynamic between academic staff and students meaning they have no frame of reference for the supportive, approachable nature of the Academic Advising role. The SIMS research findings correlates with feedback from academic staff in Departments that International students were not attending Advising sessions, and that students did not understand the role of the Academic Adviser so saw no benefit in attending.

The practice sharing nature of the session will showcase how in September 2022 and January 2023, the Central Advising team at Hallam ran in person sessions during International Orientation week to provide:

  • Support transition into UK HE study, by normalising their fears and sharing aspirations
  • Provide opportunities to meet peers from their home countries
  • Demystify the academic landscape – what’s a Course Leader, Module Leader, Academic Adviser?
  • Provide an overview of Hallam’s Student Support Triangle
  • Reasons to engage with their Academic Adviser
  • Signposting to key Skills Centre sessions

The workshop will provide the opportunity for participants to understand the benefits we received from hosting these sessions and share experiences from their own institutions about how they increase the engagement of International students with Advising and Tutoring.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
C5 - How equitable and inclusive environments are created and maintained
R5 - Promote student understanding of the logic and purpose of the curriculum