Introducing an 'Academic Personal Tutoring' Team: Early Findings into the Pilot Scheme on both Student Progression Metrics and the Student Experience

Charlie Seager (University of Salford)
Vish Maheshwari (University of Salford)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

If you are a registered delegate, please login to view the full session information and resources

Session Outline

The relationship between support tutors and students has been said to help develop a level of connectedness, increase a student’s satisfaction and promote a sense of belonging in students. (Palmer, O’Kane, and Owens. 2009). Advanced HE notes that there is a positive link between successfully building a sense of community for students and academic integration and retention of said students. (Thomas, L. 2012) Given this, there seems to be a a link between support tutors, an increased sense of belonging, and greater academic integration and retention. Thus, the importance of academic personal tutoring should not be overlooked.

The literature is limited in its evaluation of the effectiveness of academic personal tutoring on students outside of the social sciences and health associated programmes in HE. The assumption made is that the effectiveness of academic personal tutoring, which is evident in other programmes in the literature, can be replicated in other programmes.

Given the above, in 2022, Salford Business School of Salford University, piloted its first Academic Personal Tutoring ("APT") scheme. This involved hiring a team of six Academic Personal Tutors who were employed specifically to offer individualised 1:2:1 academic support for undergraduate students. Each APT supports a different programme cohort and is responsible for tailoring their academic support to the individual needs of their students on a 1:2:1 basis. They are further responsible for conducting academic progress reviews with their students with the aim of being able to intervene earlier enough when a student is showing signs of struggling through their higher education journey and help them to stay on track.

Very early quantitative data seems to be demonstrating a positive correlation between the APT interaction and certain progression and submission metrics. However, more importantly, qualitative data that has been conducted thus far seems to suggest a link between APT interaction and a positive student experience. Student feedback on the project has centered around themes of improved academic confidence, a greater sense of student belonging and better awareness of their study skills gaps and how to strengthen these. Staff feedback has indicated that the value of the APT team lies in providing our students with the ability to develop as autonomous learners.

The project is very much in its early stages; however, by the time the Conference is due to take place, we will be in a position to have collated a years’ worth of data and feedback. We would love to share our experience of the benefits and drawbacks of the project we have faced thus far with the wider community through a presentation style discussion. The objective of such being the dissemination our early findings and inviting the audiences’ questions, feedback and critique.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C4 - Expected outcomes of academic advising and tutoring
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