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Initiatives and resources supporting the objectives of UCL's Education Strategy 2016-21

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Personalising student support: objective one of the Education Strategy

To move towards personalised student support, from first contact to graduation and beyond.

We want to ensure that all undergraduates and postgraduates, regardless of their background, experience or stage of learning, are appropriately supported.

No student can be easily categorised and all students require greater or lesser support to integrate, participate and make the most of their time at UCL.

In particular, we want to focus over the next five years on expanding our support for academic writing for all students and to ensure that we support students to integrate well from the start - both home and international students.

Our aim is to appeal particularly to highly motivated new students who are attracted by the opportunity to learn through research.

We want to use the distinctive approach we have developed through the Connected Curriculum to enthuse and inspire prospective students and to ensure that we are as inclusive as possible in implementing and resourcing our support structures. 

Our priorities for objective one

1. An enhanced welcome service for students

Operate an enhanced welcome service so that all students feel part of our community from the outset, with a particular focus on those students who are joining us from overseas.

2. The integration of international and home students

Initiate a series of projects to support the integration of international and home students outside the classroom, in particular through work with the staff and student representatives at our halls of residences.

  • Update to follow.

3. Academic writing support

Pilot a number of models for delivering discipline-relevant academic writing support for all students, whether English is their first language or not.

  • The Writing Lab (a free service designed to enhance students' academic writing and research skills) was opened up to a larger group of undergraduate students from multiple faculties and departments (2019)
  • A proposal to significantly expand UCL provision for academic writing and communication support for students has been approved in principle by UCL senior management. An academic director will be recruited early in 2018, with a view to establishing an Academic Communication Support Centre (working title) by the start of session 2018-19. Read the news item on the Teaching and Learning Portal. (January 2018)

4. Review consistency of pre-entry materials and engage new students with the Connected Curriculum

Review our pre-entry materials for prospective students, and those holding a firm offer with us, to ensure that we are consistent in our messages. We would like to take every opportunity to prepare students for the Connected Curriculum and research-based education, and to inspire students to identify with UCL’s distinctive approach at an early stage.

  • Update to follow.

5. Make UCL more welcoming for black and minority ethnic (BME) students 

Initiate a broad project with the Student’s Union UCL (formerly known as UCLU) to make UCL more welcoming for black and minority ethnic (BME) students in particular, developing ‘belonging’ interventions and mentoring schemes.

A project team has been assembled to address the BME attainment gap at UCL. The team will develop a student-centred framework for building inclusivity into curricula and providing data to monitor achievement within courses. Visit the project website for more information.

6. Review the UCL Transitions programme

Review the UCL Transitions programme so that it supports student progression as well as retention. 

  • Update to follow.

7. Introduce a UCL Scholars programme

Introduce a UCL Scholars programme to welcome our scholarship holders to the university and celebrate their outstanding academic achievements.

  • Update to follow.

8. Implement a new approach to personal tutoring

Implement a new approach to personal tutoring, linked to the Connected Curriculum and to students’ experience of undertaking research as part of their programme.

Visit the personal tutoring web page for staff.

  • The UCL Tutoring pilot has now launched (October 2019) - an online platform which complements face-to-face interactions by making it easier for tutors and students to manage the administrative process that personal tutoring involves.
  • We have published, in conjunction with Student Support and Wellbeing, a new online guide for staff: Supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing: a guide for UCL staff (November 2018)
  • Success Platform (personal tutoring and enquiry management) is under development in partnership with Student and Registry Services. (March 2018)
  • A campaign was launched to raise awareness of UCL’s personal tutoring system among staff and students. The campaign was supported by two new booklets, ‘What you need to succeed’ distributed to all first year undergraduates and ‘Things to talk about’ guide to conversation topics delivered to every personal tutor. Dedicated personal tutoring webpages were added to the revamped Current Students website. (September 2017)

9. Develop an online programme for new students: the ‘Introductory Programme’

We will develop an ‘Introductory Programme’: an online programme of pre-entry materials which will introduce prospective students to the interdisciplinary breadth of the UCL education and allow them to explore our campus and connect with other students before they arrive.