Personal tutors make all the difference to our students' experience and success at university. They have a crucial role to play in helping our students feel that they belong, and in guiding and supporting their journey.

Personal tutoring: the human face of the University of Greenwich

"One who improves the intellectual and academic ability, and nurtures the emotional well-being of learners through individualised, holistic support" (Stork and Walker, 2015, p.3.).

Both our own students and research in the HE sector tells us that students value time with personal tutors, and that effective personal tutoring can make a significant difference for individual students. Robust, effective personal tutoring can be pivotal in supporting student progression and achievement, developing more rounded personal and professional skills sets, and fostering a sense of belonging that is essential for positive engagement with their studies and the university.

"The diverse backgrounds of today's students mean that the role of the personal tutor is more important than ever" (Swain, 2008).

Students who feel cemented to an institution and consider themselves to be academically and socially integrated, are more likely to persist and to succeed (Tinto, 1993). Institutionally this translates into better retention and achievement rates, and may also be reflected in student feedback including student satisfaction surveys (such as the NSS). Our personal tutors are at the heart of ensuring all of our students feel valued and that they feel that they belong to the Greenwich community.

Personal tutoring at Greenwich embraces core values of:

  • Empathy
  • Inclusivity
  • Collaboration
  • Student centeredness
  • Developmental
  • Authenticity
  • Evidence informed
  • Commitment

These values are espoused by UKAT (United Kingdom Advising and Tutoring Association). UKAT are a national and international sector leading organisation who are at the forefront of developing the UK HE sector evidence base regarding best practice for personal tutoring and personal tutors. This hub draws on some of the resources provided by UKAT, and all personal tutors are encouraged to explore their resources and guides on good practice. Click here for more information on UKAT.

Personal tutors at Greenwich are expected to:

  • Be a first point of contact for students from entry and throughout a student's period of study;
  • establish and build a personal and non-judgmental relationship with their allocated tutees.

Being a personal tutor is a real privilege. It provides tutors with unique opportunities to work closely with individual students (tutees), and to be able to develop ongoing, rewarding relationships with them. As part of this, tutors gain valuable insight into how their tutees are doing in terms of engaging with the curriculum, understanding the content, and engaging more broadly with the university community. By having individual and small tutor group tutorials, personal tutors can gain valuable learning about the student experience, and about the challenges their tutees face with combining study with work, family and caring responsibilities. By gaining more of the student perspective, tutors are better able to respond, emphathise and understand what it is like to be a student at the University of Greenwich.

References:

Stork, A and Walker, B (2015) Becoming an outstanding Personal Tutor; Supporting Learners through Personal Tutoring and Coaching. Northwich: Critical Publishing.

Swain, H (2008) The Personal Tutor. Available online: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/the-personal-tutor/210049.article

Tinto, V (1993) Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.