Broad shoulders: the burden of being a Senior Tutor

Nienke Alberts (University of Bristol)

Monday, April 8, 2024 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

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Session Outline

Over the past fifteen years, most UK universities have introduced the Senior Tutor role as part of personal tutoring arrangements in schools or departments. Senior Tutors have a leading role in the provision of local student support through overseeing the personal tutoring system, providing support and guidance for personal tutors, liaising between the school or department and central student support services, serving on panels for academic processes, and providing direct support to students with more complex issues. Generally, the role is taken on as an administrative role by an academic member of staff for a fixed period, although some academic staff take on the indefinitely.

Whilst Luck (2010) highlighted the challenging position of Senior Tutors having to support both staff and students, to date no studies have investigated specifically the role of Senior Tutor and the demands it places on academic staff, despite their crucial role in the provision of personal tutoring and pastoral support to students.

In this session I will examine the experience of academic staff taking on the role of Senior Tutor, as well how the role regarded by others in the School. I will do this by drawing on 50 interviews with academic and professional services staff from 5 different Schools at the University of Bristol.

By understanding the experiences of academic staff taking on the role of Senior Tutor, I’ll make suggestions for how we can better prepare staff taking on this role, and will consider alternative models including collaboration with professional services staff.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
R7 - Collaborate effectively with campus services to provide support to students
P3 - Commit to students, colleagues, and their institutions through engagement in continuing professional development, scholarly enquiry, and the evaluation of professional practices