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Personal Tutoring Statement - Staff Supplement

Information for Staff

Purpose

This document is primarily directed at Personal Tutors. It describes their responsibilities and the actions expected of them in support of the students (tutees) that are assigned to them. The document also is of use to other support staff in Informatics and through the University.

This document is a supplement to the student-facing part of the Informatics Personal Tutoring Statement.  It does not replicate much of the information presented there; rather it highlights some of the most critical issues requiring attention by Personal Tutors, and provides further detail to enable them to properly fulfil their responsibilities.

Numbers of Personal Tutors and tutees

The School aims to keep the maximum number number of tutees taken on by a Personal Tutor to around 25.

The School of Informatics has 40-45  academic staff acting as Personal Tutors. Occasionally, student on joint degrees with another School have a Personal Tutor in that School.

One-to-one meetings

Preparing for meetings

When you know the time a meeting has been scheduled for, you are encouraged to note it on the student's MyEd record using the Record a future meeting facility. This helps the Senior Tutor, the Informatics Student Support Team and the College track that progress is being made. It is particularly worthwhile when the meeting cannot be scheduled until later in the normal meeting period.

Meeting activities

See the Progression Issues section below for what to do when students are missing credit points or have failed progression hurdles. Also take note of the Changing Programmes procedure described below.

At Semester 1 meetings with undergraduates, the Personal Tutor confirms attendance on the EUCLID system. This confirmation of attendance is part of the Matriculation process and is indicating to the University that the student is ready to continue with their studies. Attendance of a student must only be confirmed once the Personal Tutor has physically met with the student. If a student is referred to the Senior Tutor because of progression issues, attendance must not be confirmed until the Senior Tutor has indicated that the student has permission to continue.

Confirmation of attendance for taught post-graduates is handled by the Informatics Teaching Organisation.

Record keeping during and after meetings

It is essential that a record is kept of each meeting, including notes of any agreements and recommendations made.  In some cases, the comments added online in the EUCLID Meetings/Notes section by the Personal Tutor will be sufficient, in others the Personal Tutor also will want to keep separate records, especially when the comments are of a sensitive nature.  At least one meeting per semester should also be recorded in the "Engagement" tab in EUCLID, this is particularly important for Tier 4 sponsored students.

The Personal Tutor should keep meeting notes added to a student's MyEd record brief, letting tutees fill in details. However, when a critical point is being made, the Personal Tutor should consider adding further information to ensure the point is clearly explained and on the record.

If the meeting was scheduled using the Record a future meeting facility, the meeting notes can be added by clicking on the Comment link within the existing entry for the meeting. Otherwise, meeting notes should be added using the Record a recent meeting facility.

Perhaps a week after each regular meeting period, the Personal Tutor should go through their tutees' records, checking over the details they have filled in about their meetings and adding a Comment. If there's nothing to add or clarify and the details all look fine, just say so.

Additional recording of events

Through the year events will happen with a tutee that a Personal Tutor should consider noting in the MyEd record. This information could help others supporting the tutee in the School and around the University. It also could be a prompt for including for personalising references letters a Personal Tutor might write. (For example, the tutee might have attended some training course or had some summer internship.)

Additional monitoring activities

The ITO will monitor the attendance of all students at tutorials, and will notify a Personal Tutor when there has been any significant pattern of absences by one of their tutees.

In Weeks 8 or 9 of each Semester, the Personal Tutor should check how their tutees are progressing in their coursework. By this time, at least the results of 1st courseworks for Informatics courses ought to be known. The ITO will help to provide Personal Tutors with the relevant marks. If there is any cause for concern with a tutee, the Personal Tutor should make contact with them to explore further and see whether any actions are needed.

After the Semester 2 exam boards in mid-June, the Personal Tutor should check the exam results of their undergraduate tutees, again taking action if there is cause for concern.  The Personal Tutor should note which of their tutees is expected to take resits in August. There is no need for distinct checking of results after all students' Semester 1 exams and after post-graduate students' Semester 2 exams: in each of these cases checking can be taken care of at the following regular one-to-one meeting.

When tutees are expected at August resits, the Personal Tutor should check the results once they are known. The intent is that, before Week 0 of the upcoming Semester 1, the Personal Tutor is already aware of any problems, and can initiate the referral to the Senior Tutor, even when the tutee is slow to get in contact.

As special circumstances arise through the year, the Personal Tutor should keep records of these. Then, before each exam board, the Personal Tutor can draw up a Special Circumstances form, in conjunction with each relevant tutee.

Progression Issues

At the start of an academic year, when a student is missing credit points from previous years or has failed a progression hurdle, they need permission to continue their studies.  The College provides guidance on whether a Personal Tutor can go ahead and give the student permission to continue studies themselves, or should refer the student to the Senior Tutor.  In Informatics, the Senior Tutor works with the Student Progression Officer (Sharon Goldwater) to review progression cases and, as needed, interview the referred students.

 Whether a Personal Tutor makes a decision themselves or refers the student on to the Senior Tutor, they should submit an Progression Report web form to notify the Senior Tutor, the Student Progression Officer and Student Support Team of the situation.

When the Senior Tutor and Student Progression Officer have reviewed a student's situation, they will email the Personal Tutor and tutee with a summary of the situation, a statement of whether the tutee has permission to continue studies, and, if so, recommendations on how the studies should be continued.  They will also enter this information in a note in the tutee's MyEd record, placing sensitive information in a separate confidential comment on the note. 

Concessions

Sometimes students need concessions to allow them to follow patterns of study slightly different from those prescribed in Degree Programme Tables. For example, they might want to take an additional course or substitute an unlisted course for one of their prescribed courses.  Such concessions can be usually granted by the SCAO (School Curriculum Approval Officer, Alex Simpson). On occasion more significant concessions are required that can only be granted by the Science and Engineering College. In both cases, the Personal Tutor should use the School's Concessions and Permissions web form to request the concession. If a College concession is required, the SCAO will forward the request on, and relay back the outcome of the request.

After progression interviews (see the previous section), it is common that students need concessions to enable them to continue studies.  In these cases the Senior Tutor or the Student Progression Officer usually authorise the required concessions, without Personal Tutors having explicitly to request them.

Changing programmes

Changes are made using the Registry Request a Change to Programme Details form, linked to from each student's Programme/Session tab in EUCLID. If you want to file a change request for a student, first email the School Curriculum Approval Officer explaining what you want to do. Wait for their OK before going ahead. When filing the form, be sure to fill in ito@inf.ed.ac.uk in the cc box.This helps the ITO keep their records up to date.

Further information

The School of Informatics's Personal Tutors page has links to the forms described on this page as well as to guidance for Personal Tutors from around the University.