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Up Close and Personal: The policy and practice of support for the individual student Jenny Kean.

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1 Up Close and Personal: The policy and practice of support for the individual student Jenny Kean

2 I’m really depressed. I can’t sleep, then I can’t get up to face the world. It’s all getting out of control. I’ve got problems going on at home – my parents are splitting up and my dad’s got serious health issues.

3 My grand-dad’s paying for me to be here – but I just don’t want to be doing this. It’s going to break his heart if I go - but I don’t want to stay. How can I tell my family? I have to travel to Sheffield 3 days a week for work – is there any way I can access some kind of hardship fund?

4 I’m suffering quite badly from anxiety. Should I go to the doctors? I don’t get on with my flatmates at all. I just can’t seem to make friends

5 I’ve wanted to come to university since I was 11 years old. It was my dream – but I’m just not enjoying it. I’m not learning anything – what am I getting for my money?

6 The context Thomas & Hixenbaugh (2006 p.3) Increasing student numbers Worsening staff/student ratios - staff to student ratio at University of Hertfordshire Business School went from 25:1 to 35:1 in 6 years to 2006 (Bunce 2006)

7 The context (contd) Greater student diversity – Owen (2002) Competing demands on staff (learning & teaching, research, admin) Pressure to ensure high rates of student retention and success

8 Bunce, S (2007)

9 Does personal tutoring matter? Student satisfaction and success (Thomas & Hixenbaugh 2006, Race 2010, Neville 2007 p.138) Retention – “to increase retention you must personalise your relationship with your students” (Chapman 2003, Neville 2007 p.12) Follow the money -“It’s cheaper to retain than to recruit”; the student not just as “consumer” but “investor” (Thomas & Hixenbaugh 2006 )

10 Does personal tutoring matter? We’ve said it does. Although… “This is usually work that goes on literally and metaphorically behind closed doors and without accolades.” How much do we really value it? Neville 2007 p.3

11 What the students want Regular, frequent, scheduled meetings A PT who takes an active role throughout their degree A PT who is accessible, approachable and reliable A PT who is enthusiastic and cares about them They want to be “known, ‘tracked’ and supported” throughout Owen 2002, Thomas & Hixenbaugh 2006

12 “Only Connect” E.M. Forster “It is becoming clear that relationships are at the heart of the issue of the students’ experience of university.” Thomas & Hixenbaugh 2006 p.55

13 What personal tutors say I’m looking after all these students – but who’s looking after me? The cling-on effect I wouldn’t give it up. [It’s] one part of the job where it is possible to make a difference to someone. Thomas & Hixenbaugh 2006

14 The Pastoral model Earwaker 1992 May be reactive or proactive Are regular meetings structured in? Is the role of the personal tutor clearly defined to both the tutor and student? “Niche” time “In the mass university, the ideal [of the caring, committed pastoral tutor] works only at a huge cost in terms of people- hours and stress.” (Owen 2002)

15 The Professional model Based on providing ‘professional’ support services Different models – one-stop shop, Student Support and Guidance (including Academic Advisers) Available when students need it Highly reactive No consistency, no relationship Teaching staff ‘pass the buck’ Thomas & Hixenbaugh 2006, Bunce 2007

16 The curriculum model Module with personal tutor group Learning skills, info about institution and HE generally Allows relationships to develop between student and PT, but also amongst peers Makes it a positive developmental experience, rather than just being about ‘problems’ Takes time out of the curriculum Students don’t readily buy into anything perceived as ‘not what I’m here to do’ Bunce 2007, Thomas & Hixenbaugh 2006

17 My practice – what worked Part of induction Scheduled meetings built in to profile Appointments, not fill-your-own-slot Referring ‘doubters’ to 2 nd yr students

18 My practice – what didn’t work Lack of clarity about roles and liaison with other depts Lack of follow-up ‘Knowing, tracking, supporting’ (Owen 2002) – little or none of the 1 st two Lack of knowledge about uni regs, systems, other services that could help them Lack of training or help in skills I might need to help students

19 An action plan Get to know SL officer and meet regularly Build in follow-up Google docs to share marks/attendance? Contact hours (Neville 2007 p.33) Mentoring Training/induction for new tutors Try a more curriculum-embedded model?

20 Magic wands and happy endings?

21 Leeds Met puts students at the heart of everything we do… Assessment, Learning & Teaching Strategy 2008-12 Leeds Metropolitan University

22 References Neville, L., 2007 The Personal tutor’s handbook. Basingstoke, Palgrave Race, P. & LMU Teacher Fellows, 2010 Making personal tutoring work. Leeds Met Press Thomas, L.& Hixenbaugh, P. (eds), 2006 Personal tutoring in higher education. Stoke on Trent, Trentham Books JOURNALS Bunce, S. (2006) ‘Establishing a student support and guidance office to replace personal tutoring in University of Hertfordshire Business School’, The Higher Education Academy, August Bunce, S. (2007) ‘Personal or Systematic? Do we have to take the ‘personal’ out of personal tutoring in HE?’, Higher Education Review 40 (1) Autumn pp 85-87 Owen, M. (2002) ‘Sometimes you feel you’re in niche time: The personal tutor system, a case study’, Active Learning in Higher Education, 3: 7 Stephen, D., O’Connell, P. & Hall, M. (2008) ‘’Going the extra mile’, ‘fire- fighting’ or ‘laissez-faire? Re-evaluating personal tutoring relationships within mass higher education’, Teaching in Higher Education,13 (4) August pp449-460 Trotter, E (2004) ‘Personal Tutoring: Policy v. Reality of Practice’, Education in Changing Environment conference, University of Salford

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