Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Meaningful meetings

Key topics that Personal Tutors (PTs) could usefully cover with tutees at each stage of their study at the University. The guidance is aimed at all PTs but will be of particular benefit to new PTs. Particular focus on course choice, exam prep, reflecting on results, special circumstances, and related. Gives a suggested timetable as to when meetings could usefully be scheduled each year.

Purpose of this guidance

This guidance is offered to Senior Tutors and to all Personal Tutors (PTs) merely as a potential resource. Many Schools* already have such a document, and the detailed purposes and form of PT/tutee meetings will clearly vary between Schools according to their different pedagogies.  The document is directly applicable to undergraduate tutees but the topics covered could be adapted to the needs of postgraduate taught students.  

The templated (but non-restrictive) guidance highlights some of the key topics that PTs could usefully cover with tutees at each stage of their study at the University.  The guidance is aimed at all PTs but will be of particular benefit to new PTs and to PT’s who are finding the role challenging, to help them provide a good standard of support to their tutees. 

Scheduling meetings

The guidance also provides PTs with an outcome-based rationale for the mandatory 4:3:1:1(:1) scheduled meetings (for undergraduates) by explaining the thinking behind this pattern of meetings. School-scheduled meetings are concentrated in early years to help tutees to settle in and to build a relationship with their PTs.  The tacit assumption is that, in later years, the PT-tutee relationship should be well-established and students will have acquired the maturity and confidence to ask for further meetings themselves.   

The Academic and Pastoral Support Policy makes it clear that that the University minimum requirement is:

  • UG Year 1 – four meetings

    • at least two of which must be individual meetings
  • UG Year 2 – three meetings
    • at least one of which must be an individual meeting
  • UG Years 3 & 4 (and 5 where required) – one meeting each year
    • the form of delivery will be determined by School

Year 1 - suggested meetings

Meeting number Date (approx) Purpose
1 Early September
  • Welcome
  • Sign up for courses (in most cases)
  • Discuss pre-arrival questionnaire? (If your School operates one). For more information please see: Making Transitions Personal
  • Note student’s concerns and aspirations
2 Early November
  • How are you settling in?
  • Special circumstances should be picked up here.
  • Exam preparation. This could be an all-class “exam-awareness” meeting, but, following that all-class meeting: PT emails all tutees to encourage a discussion of exam preparation
  • Template email
3 Feb - March
  • Results of exams in semester#1
  • Plans for semester#2
  • Any need for study support?
4 May
  • Exam readiness/preparation
  • Special circumstances?

Year 2 - suggested meetings

Meeting Date (approx) Purpose
1 Early September
  • Welcome                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • Reflect on last year’s results
  • Sign up for courses (in most cases).
2 Early November
  • Exam readiness/preparation
  • Special circumstances should be picked up here.
3 Feb-March
  • Results of exams in semester#1
  • Plans for semester#2
  • Forward look to the pre-honours → honours transition
  • Emphasise the fact that marks count for honours from now on.

Year 3 - suggested meetings

Meeting Date (approx) Purpose
1 Early September
  • Welcome                                                                                                                                                                                        
  • Reflect on last year’s results
  • Transition to honours (marks start to count!)
  • Honours choices?

Year 4 (final year) - suggested meetings

Meeting Date (approx) Purpose
1 Early September
  • Welcome                                                                                                                                                                                      
  • Reflect on last year’s results
  • Honours choices?
  • Project/dissertation?
  • Career plans?

Year 4 (penultimate year) - suggested meetings

Meeting Date (approx) Purpose
1 Early September
  • Welcome                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Reflect on last year’s results
  • Honours choices?
  • Project/dissertation?

Year 5 (final year) - suggested meetings

Meeting Date (approx) Purpose
1 Early September
  • Welcome                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • Reflect on last year’s results
  • Honours choices?
  • Project/dissertation?
  • Careers?

 

*Please note: the term ‘School’ is employed throughout this document to refer to the local organisational body to which students matriculate.  This is usually a School but in some instances this may be a Deanery or a College.