The Experiences and Challenges of personal tutors at University

Rebecca Upsher (King's College London)
Selin Hasgul (Kings College London)
Katherine Embleton (King's College London)

Monday, April 8, 2024 2:30 PM - 3:15 PM

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

Session Outline

This qualitative study was led by two undergraduate psychology students who investigated the experiences and challenges encountered by personal tutors at a large UK Russell Group university. Using semi-structured interviews, data was collected from 21 personal tutors across a range of subject disciplines and teaching roles. Employing reflexive thematic analysis, three themes were generated: 'Tutor-Student Relationship', 'Professional Development and Preparedness', and 'Systemic and Institutional Challenges'. These themes explore the influence of tutor-student relationships on student outcomes, the emotional burden tutors face due to demanding workloads and complex student issues, and the institutional barriers that impair tutors' efficacy. The findings underscore the necessity for comprehensive professional development and robust support structures for tutors. They also call for addressing systemic and institutional obstacles. Crucially, the study emphasises the importance of recognition and support for tutors in their role in promoting student mental health. These insights contribute to the broader discourse on enhancing the personal tutoring system in higher education. Future research should explore strategies to enrich tutors' experiences, subsequently fostering improved student outcomes. We propse running a presentation to discuss the findings of our research and comparing it to the findings of other similar studies within and beyond the UK over the last decade.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C1 - Core values of academic advising and tutoring
R1 - Build advising and tutoring relationships through empathetic listening and compassion for students, and be accessible in ways that challenge, support, nurture, and teach
P3 - Commit to students, colleagues, and their institutions through engagement in continuing professional development, scholarly enquiry, and the evaluation of professional practices