Lightning Talks

Roberta Faraone (University of Sunderland in London)
Gabriela Preutesei (University of Sunderland in London)
Ann McManus (Cardiff University)
Angharad Naylor (Cardiff University)
Phillip Miller (University of Sunderland)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 1:30 PM - 2:15 PM

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Session Outline

Facilitating Academic Success by Fostering Student Self-Esteem Through Personal Academic Tutoring.

Roberta Faraone (University of Sunderland in London); Gabriela Preutesei (University of Sunderland in London)

As a team of personal academic tutors in higher education context, working with students from a diverse background and abilities, we observed how our interactions are contributing to increasing students’ self-esteem and academic progress. The literature confirms that high self-esteem is associated with higher levels of academic self-efficacy and greater academic engagement (Gonzaga, 2023). Zhao (2021) also argues that perceived social support plays a moderating role, enhancing the relationship between self-efficacy and academic engagement. However, because the academic tutoring in higher education gains more attention lately, the key literature in this area emphasises the link between self-esteem and academic performance (D’Mello et al., 2018), but without including the role that academic tutors could potentially play in building and supporting students’ self-esteem through subject specific support. Therefore, the aim of this study is to identify to what extent the self-esteem plays a role in the academic performance of a student, and if there are means to address it throughout subject specific academic support in personal academic tutoring. The findings of this study contribute to the literature gap outlined above, by adding insights from the academic tutoring perspective.

For this purpose, we adapt and use the Heatherton and Polivy’s (1991) State Self Esteem Scale (SSES), for understanding students' academic and personal development. Even though the scale was initially designed and used to assess self-esteem in social, performance, and appearance domains we have reasons to believe that applied in academic context could provide valuable insights for effective student support. The findings of the study have the potential to help personal academic tutors to design support strategies that enhance students' confidence in own academic capabilities and create an inclusive learning ecosystem appropriate for both international and home students.

Building a future state for personalised support at Cardiff University

Ann McManus (Cardiff University); Angharad Naylor (Cardiff University)

The aim of this lightning talk is to share our experiences of taking an evidence-led approach to reviewing support structures, including Personal Tutoring, at Cardiff University.

The aim of the Personalised Support Project at Cardiff University is to introduce enhancements to Personal Tutoring Support at Cardiff in order to; 

• improve the student experience by developing a consistent and transparent support system that draws upon academic, pastoral, wellbeing, and peer support; 

• improve staff experience by developing ongoing and high-quality support, including clear expectations, training, resources, networking opportunities and improved access to relevant data; 

• bring about an alignment of provision and services within academic Schools, the University, and Student Life.  

During this Lightning Talk, participants will hear of the challenges, discoveries and current thinking shaping a future-proofed, student-orientated support structure for Cardiff University.

We will share our progress and next steps as well as lessons learnt.

The Lightning Talk will focus on the following areas:

1. Why?: Why this work was necessary and our approach to undertaking an institutional wide review in a diverse and large university.

2. Who?: Who we collaborated with, who the key stakeholders were, who our future stakeholders might be, and getting buy-in from all.

3. So What?: What we have learnt along the way - the good, the bad and the ugly and how our thinking and perspectives have shifted during the course of the project. We’ll share what our challenges were / are / might yet still be.

4. What next?: How can we make this work count; how can we better support our staff and students - current and future, what part will technology play, who are the future Cardiff University students (and staff)?

In summary, participants will hear about our journey at Cardiff but in doing so we hope that the approaches, challenges, and opportunities we have, and are continuing to encounter, will be relevant to others who are on their own journey and thinking of their own practice and approaches.

We hope that this sharing of experiences and continued collaboration enables us to design and deliver support structures for the benefit of both students and staff.

Guiding Students to Success with Studiosity: We can lead a horse to water, but can we make it drink?

Phillip Miller (University of Sunderland)

The saying "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink" captures the essence of the challenge that tutors face within Higher Education: providing resources and opportunities is one thing, but ensuring active student engagement is an altogether different challenge.

This presentation considers the intersection of academic tutoring and student engagement, with a specific focus on the transformative role of Studiosity; an online third-party platform offering round the clock academic support to students. Whilst there have been suggestions that use of this specific platform can be linked to improved student outcomes (Wilson et al, 2020) here institutional data will be shared showing strong evidence of enhanced assessment results for first year undergraduates utilising Studiosity during the 2022/23 academic year. The same data does however illustrate disparity of engagement with the service both within and across degree programmes within the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

In the current year various strategies have been developed and deployed in different curriculum areas to embed Studiosity more effectively into the learning process including making it part of the assessment process and awarding marks for its use. With Personal Tutors being pivotal in the provision of, and signposting to multiple methods of support (Braine and Parnell, 2011), strategies have frequently sought to involve them in this process by engaging students in feedback discussions with their tutor.

By bringing together technology, timely feedback, and personalised academic support in a manner that is embedded within their programmes we hope to not just lead students to the water of knowledge, but also ensure they drink deeply. This presentation will look at the pros and cons of these approaches and explore the degree to which they have succeeded within the current academic year.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
R3 - Motivate, encourage, and support students to recognize their potential, meet challenges, and respect individuality
C5 - How equitable and inclusive environments are created and maintained
I5 - The characteristics, needs, and experiences of major and emerging student populations
R4 - Plan and conduct successful advising and tutoring interactions
P4 - Understand the implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement, and engage in on-going evaluation and development of advising and tutoring practice
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
I7 - Data and information technology applicable to tutoring
P4 - Understand the implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement, and engage in on-going evaluation and development of advising and tutoring practice