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Frequently asked questions

How and when will I find out who my tutees are? 

This will be made available to you by either your course administrator or your line manager before the beginning of term. Students will be given the name of their personal tutor during Welcome Week (or equivalent induction period) at the latest. 

How many tutees should I be responsible for?

There is no fixed amount and this will vary depending on the size of your School. The personal tutoring policy has recommended that Schools consider workload issues and be mindful of the numbers of tutees allocated to any individual tutor. If you have any issues or concerns speak to your line manager.

Does my tutee have to be from my subject group?

A personal tutor will normally be from the student's relevant School of study, but could be from any subject group in the School. 

How often should I meet my tutees? 

The table below provides a useful breakdown:

 


Full Time

Part Time

Undergraduate Taught

Minimum 3 meetings per year:

One scheduled meeting at the start of each year of the programme.

Two further opportunities for meetings provided throughout each year.

Minimum 2 meetings per year:

One scheduled meeting at the start of each year of the programme.

One further meeting opportunity provided throughout each year.

Postgraduate Taught

Minimum 3 meetings per year:

One scheduled meeting at the start of the programme.

Two further opportunities for meetings provided over the year.

Minimum 2 meetings per year:

One scheduled meeting at the start of each year of the programme.

One further meeting opportunity provided throughout each year.

 

Where should we meet? 

In your office or meeting room would be the ideal location. If the student requests another location then as long as it is on campus and you deem it to be an appropriate place for a meeting, then use your discretion. 



What should we discuss in our meetings? 

The personal tutor should be a student's first formal point of contact for general academic guidance and pastoral support. It is not expected that Personal Tutors are experts on all matters, however, but that they should: inform tutees of their availability and ensure they are available at relevant times; listen to students' issues or concerns sensitively and responsively; provide advice and guidance and be able to signpost students to other sources of support within the School, University or Aston Students' Union where required.

For more guidance on this, please refer to the above section called 'A summary of the personal tutor role'. This may give you some ideas about what you should discuss and questions you may wish to ask them. however, in an ideal situation, the tutee will dictate the topic of discussion.
 



Will the tutee be aware of what my role is? 

The system for personal tutoring, the role of the personal tutor and the student's responsibilities will be made clear to students in the relevant programme handbook or related material but should also be discussed during the first meeting with you. 



Are group meetings allowed? 

Personal Tutors may arrange to meet with tutees individually or in groups but there must be a minimum of one individual meeting each year of the programme and students should be encouraged to contact their personal tutor for individual confidential discussions at other times if necessary. 



Must I keep a record of what we discuss in meetings? 

When you see your personal tutee you must use MAP to confirm that you have met, and add further notes if required - (Click here to view a video on how to use this feature on MAP). You can either make the notes on MAP when the tutee is with you or after they have gone. However, you must bear in mind that these records can be viewed by the tutee themselves (if they request it) and staff with administrative access to MAP records. If a student discusses confidential or sensitive matters it is not advised that the full details of the discussion are disclosed on MAP, unless the student gives their permission for you to do so. The MAP tool is there to record when and how many times you have met during the year, and to help you record and remember what was discussed (where appropriate).

What if my student does not respond to emails or turn up to meetings? 

Personal Tutors must try to encourage tutees to attend meetings and make reasonable efforts to contact their tutors, but it is ultimately the student's responsibility to attend meetings and they cannot be forced to attend. Try to encourage the tutee to at least reply and say that they do not need to meet up and allow them to be satisfied with this. If you are concerned that there may be a more serious reason that they are not replying, then report it to your line manager or School office. 



What do I do if I am unable to answer some the questions my tutees ask? 

Personal Tutors are not expected to know the answer to all questions or be an expert in all areas. In the section 'A list of key contacts and support services for signposting students' you can find email addresses, contact numbers and websites that may have the information you need, or it may be appropriate to refer your tutees to these support services for more expert advice. 



What if my tutee asks for a different personal tutor? 

Students have the right to request a change of personal tutor and, whilst this will not be automatically granted, requests should be considered and not unreasonably declined. In such cases schools/programmes must ensure that a student is reallocated to another personal tutor as quickly as possible and that there is minimum disruption for the student. 



What happens if I feel the issue is too serious for me to deal with? 

 If you have a serious cause for concern about a student you can contact the critical incident co-ordinator Jackie Edwards on Ext:4579 or J.M.Edwards@aston.ac.uk If you feel a student needs immediate support please bring them to the Hub reception and an available member of staff will try to assist. Please remember if you feel in any danger to your personal safety you should contact security on Ext. 2222

Click here to view advice/guidance on responding to a student who may have mental health difficulties. 



What if my tutee is not experiencing any problems? 

Personal Tutors are not just there to deal with problems, they are there to help the students get the most out of themselves and their time at university. Helping students develop themselves, their skills, and encouraging students to make the most of the opportunites Aston has to offer them is also an important part of the role. 



What if my tutee does not want a personal tutor? 

Students cannot be forced to engage with the personal tutoring system (unless your School deems this essential as part of their studies), but they should certainly be encouraged to do so. If they are adamant that they do not want a personal tutor then this has to be respected, but it is advised that you still contact them at key points during the year to remind them that you are there should they require your help or advice, even if they do not want to take the opportunity to do so. 



Can I receive any training on how to be a good personal tutor if I feel I need it? 

Yes. Please click here for further details and information about how to register. 


Can I speak to someone if I find my role difficult or upsetting?  

Consider speaking with your line manager about any issues that you might be finding hard in your personal tutoring role. They may be able to help you.

The University also has key members of staff and advice services that are designed to help you. Click here to view how you can arrange to speak to qualified staff members in confidence, get advice on common issues and learn more about how Aston can support you as a member of staff. 


What do I do if I feel that my tutee is struggling with their work?

Arrange a meeting with them and try to find out what the cause might be, then offer advice and guidance accordingly. You may need to refer to and utilise the services offered by the University to help resolve certain issues. Please refer to the section called 'A list of key contacts and support services for signposting students' and see if there are any other services that they might benefit from using to improve their situation. 

What about confidentiality? Can I discuss specific issues that tutees might be having with other members of staff? 

There are occasions when it would be inappropriate to maintain confidentiality, such as if there are issues which may affect the student's progression or continuation on the programme, which should be discussed with the tutee and brought to the attention of other relevant colleagues. Also, there may be other exceptional circumstances, such as concerns for the student's welfare or the welfare of others which may require you to take action. 

What other support services are available to students? 

There is a full list made available in this toolkit - click here to see a list of key contacts and support services for signposting students. 

Do all students have a personal tutor? 

Yes, all campus based undergraduate and postgraduate taught students will be allocated a named personal tutor, who will be a member of academic staff from Aston University. 

What about part time students? 

Personal tutoring for part time campus based students should adhere to the minimum standards for full time students but it is recognised that there may be a need to adjust the timing and frequency of meetings. 


What about distance learners? 

Whilst distance learning programmes may wish to operate a personal tutor system it is recognised that this may not always be practical. In these cases other appropriate student and academic support arrangements must be put in place, approved by the relevant School of Study and reported to Learning and Teaching Committee as part of an annual report on the operation of personal tutoring within the School. Any arrangement for distance learning students must include an essential requirement that students are informed at the outset of the key contact points for support and guidance. 

Is there a personal tutoring policy for Aston? 

Yes, you can view the full document here.