The purpose of this policy is to set out the principles and expectations for personal academic tutoring offered to students on postgraduate taught programmes.
The University of Derby is committed to a personal academic tutoring scheme that is equitable and fair for all students on all taught programmes. This policy aligns to the Personal Academic Tutoring Undergraduate Policy 2018-2021 to ensure that postgraduate taught programmes adhere to the same principles and equity of provision, whilst also recognising the different needs of Level 7 students and the flexibility programmes at this level may require.
This policy applies to academic staff who are personal academic tutors on postgraduate taught programmes, and postgraduate taught students, across all colleges and departments of the University of Derby. This includes Level 7 apprentices who engage in personal academic tutoring through their tripartite reviews.
I. The Learning and Teaching Committee will monitor the Personal Academic Tutoring policy to ensure consistent implementation.
II. The College will report on progress of implementing this policy throughout the continual monitoring process.
III. The College leadership team will be responsible and accountable for implementation of the policy.
IV. The College leadership team will be responsible for ensuring all meetings are recorded by Personal Academic Tutors in the Academic Workspace.
V. Mandatory training will be provided by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. Attendance at training sessions will be recorded and attendance data will be reported to Colleges.
VI. The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching will be responsible for providing appropriate training, resources and support to Personal Academic Tutors but will develop these in partnership with Colleges.
5. Policy Statement
Personal Academic Tutoring for Postgraduate Taught Students at the University of Derby
The underpinning principles of Personal Academic Tutoring for Postgraduate Taught students are the same as the principles for Undergraduate students, ensuring that the experience is equitable and consistent. These principles are, in summary:
- Recognition of the value of individual time for students to discuss their academic progress, professional goals, and student experience with a tutor.
- Delivery of an individualised learning experience that enables stretch and challenge for students.
- Development of students' own sense of and ability to articulate their aspirations, confidence and 'distinctiveness' as individuals in learning environments, including in professional practice and in the workplace.
As in the Undergraduate Policy, the purpose of the Personal Academic Tutorial in postgraduate programmes is to engage the student in a conversation about their academic progress that gives them ownership of that development, and where the focus is on the learning rather than the pastoral aspect of their student experience. At Level 7 this process remains co-constructed, and the tutor's role is to ensure that this is commensurate with Level 7 academic and professional attainment and aspiration. Progress goals remain key to the success of the postgraduate student journey and resources designed to support students at this level are provided on the CELT PAT Teams site.
Personal Academic Tutoring at Level 7 continues to be a programme-level activity and is therefore still located between modules. For postgraduate students Personal Academic Tutoring can be critical to the student journey, to ensure that in the timescale they are with the university that students are able to make links between modules across the programme. Personal academic tutoring also enables discussion of and signposting to the academic, personal, and professional development services available to them within the university.
However, there are some key differences at Level 7 that are factored into the Personal Academic Tutoring offer and tutor role. Modes of attendance, patterns of delivery and the profile and location of students can differ dramatically across the postgraduate taught portfolio. Many students attending postgraduate taught programmes are working in full-time occupations for which the programme is a professional development opportunity or requirement, including but not limited to Level 7 apprentices, or the programme is a work-based learning programme which results in atypical attendance modes and patterns as well as varied student profiles. Further support for students is also offered in a range of ways via mentoring and the programme teams, due to the nature of the programmes and staff-student relationships at Level 7 which may result in less need for formal personal academic tutoring than at undergraduate level. The personal academic tutor role needs to apply both to a full-time programme that is less than twelve months long, and to a part-time programme that can last three years, in a meaningful way to support student progress effectively. For these reasons the following logistical elements are written into this policy to ensure equity of opportunity for all students on postgraduate taught programmes.
I. Postgraduate taught programmes will offer a minimum of two personal academic tutorials per academic year for all full-time students, and one for part-time students . This is the minimum and the tutorial opportunities should be designed to meet the needs of the subject programme, any PSRB requirements, and the programme delivery schedule. It is recognised that personal academic tutoring requirements may differ across the varied postgraduate taught programme portfolio and that some programmes may offer more tutorials than this.
II. Personal academic tutorials on postgraduate programmes may be individual or group tutorials depending on the nature of the programme, but there must be at least one opportunity for a student to engage in an individual tutorial with their tutor during their programme.
III. Tutorials will be between 15-30 minutes in duration, offering a minimum of half an hour in total per full-time student per academic year, and pro-rata equivalent for part-time students.
IV. Programme teams will set out the personal academic tutoring approach for the programme clearly in the programme information on Course Resources, including number of tutorials within the programme, timings, mode (face-to-face /phone/online/synchronous /asynchronous/blended) and the nature and purpose of the tutorials.
V. The Programme Leader/Course Director/Discipline Lead will determine how students are allocated to tutors within the programme team, due to the wide variation of team sizes and structures. There must be consistency within a team approach to allocations within a programme. Where one staff member takes responsibility to be personal academic tutor to the programme cohort, an additional member of staff must be put in place in case of unanticipated staff absence.
6. Policy Implementation
I. Every student must be allocated and notified who their Personal Academic Tutor is by the end of Induction week (or as close to this as the student's date of enrolment permits if later) so that a group tutorial can take place within the first two weeks of teaching.
II. Tutors will be allocated time for 'non-planned' tutorial engagement of 2 hours per semester. Personal Academic Tutoring workload allocations will be consistent with the personal academic tutoring requirements of the programme, in line with PSRB and other requirements.
III. On programmes where students have an Independent Study supervisor it is recommended that, where it is logistically possible, the Personal Academic Supervisor and the Independent Study supervisor are different.
IV. Tutorials can take place synchronously in person on online. They may also take place asynchronously where required, such as where students are working in different time zones than their tutor.
Failure to comply with this policy may lead to the staff disciplinary procedure being invoked. This could result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
8. Related Documentation
Personal Academic Tutoring Undergraduate Policy 2018-21
9. Equality Analysis
The Equality Analysis has been undertaken with all the EDI networks and with the EDI committee. Recommendations will be fed into training and support materials.
1. There is no requirement for personal academic tutorials on Level 7 short courses.