Teaching & Learning


What do you need to succeed? Campaign to promote personal tutoring under way

18 September 2017

Campaign launched to raise awareness of UCL's personal tutoring system among staff and students

Graphic: what you need to succeed

A campaign to raise awareness of our personal tutoring system among staff and students has been launched to coincide with the start of the new academic year.

The campaign supports and complements activity being undertaken within departments.

For some years, our students have been telling us – through surveys such as NSS and PTES – that we need to make improvements to the academic support we offer. The first objective of our Education Strategy 2016-21 addresses this feedback, committing us ‘to move towards personalised student support, from first contact to graduation and beyond.’

The campaign has several elements:

  1. Personal Tutoring guide, setting out the scope and purpose of personal tutoring;
  2. Things To Talk About handbook, containing suggested topics for conversations between tutors and tutees, ordered to reflect the individual student’s changing priorities as they progress on their academic journey;
  3. Personal Tutoring website, a dedicated section of the new ‘Current Students’ site, which carries the same content as the guide and handbook with plans to add more content throughout the year;
  4. Cross-campus promotion, posters at prominent sites, displays on digital screens in the Library and departments, banners in general teaching spaces. Please contact the team if you would like us to send promotional materials for display in your area.

To encourage a consistent experience of personal tutoring for all staff and students, copies of the ‘What you need to succeed’ guide have been delivered to departments to be distributed to all personal tutors. All new taught students will receive a copy via their Halls welcome pack and through their departments. This will set a baseline from which the personal tutoring relationship between the tutor and tutee can develop.

To support the relationship throughout the student’s time at UCL, the second booklet in the series, the ‘Things to Talk About’ handbook , will be delivered to personal tutors at the start of session. Tutors can use the suggested topics of conversation in the handbook, which are tailored to the year within which the tutorials are taking place, to ensure that all students are receiving consistent and relevant support and guidance. The content of the guide and the handbook will be replicated on the website, which goes live at the start of term). Over the coming months additional resources and case studies will be added.

A number of other initiatives to help departments strengthen academic support will be introduced in 2017/18:

  • Action on Feedback: staff development opportunities and resources to help staff give effective feedback and to help students to use it!
  • Creation of a personal tutoring dashboard, where personal tutors can access data about each tutee’s academic journey (planned for Summer 2018)
  • Academic Writing: we are currently working to secure long-term funding for an expansion in UCL's provision for academic writing support. The business case will be informed by the survey of Departmental Teaching Committees we undertook in spring 2017. We will share more information about our plans in the New Year.
  • Development of the Introductory Programme, an online course to help offer-holders prepare to join UCL (pilot planned for August 2018)

For more information about the Personal Tutoring project, contact:
Sam Smidt  s.smidt@ucl.ac.uk Arena Centre for Research-Based Education
Viki Burnage v.burnage@ucl.ac.uk Office of the Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs)