Enhancing the Student Experience

What happened?

The project built a University-wide framework of guidance and support including the Personal Tutor system.

This project closed on 31 July 2015 

Aim 
To ensure that, over the next decade and beyond, students have access to a framework of guidance and support that builds on the best of current practices, meets contemporary needs, and is of a quality and consistency appropriate to a university of high global standing.

Why is this important?

  • Levels of student satisfaction have not been where they should be across the University.
  • The student experience is not as personalised as it might, could or should be.
  • Evidence of a lack of identity and sense of belonging to an academic community by students.
  • Inconsistencies in academic guidance and oversight of whole programme experience.
  • Student support disaggregated across Schools and central departments.
  • Student concerns in general around assessment and feedback.

Achievements

Personal Tutor system for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, including:

  • The appointment of a Dean of Students in each college.
  • The appointment of at least one Senior Tutor in each school.
  • The creation of Student Support Teams in each school.
  • The development of descriptors for each of these roles along with the descriptor for a Personal Tutor and a descriptor for student responsibilities in their role as a Tutee.
  • The creation of the Senior Tutors’ Network and the Student Support Teams’ Network.
  • An agreed number of scheduled ‘one-to-one’ and small-group meetings for each student.
  • The establishment of School Personal Tutoring statements to make explicit to students the model of Personal Tutoring adopted in their school.
  • A set of resources and training made available to all schools to support the development and implementation of Personal Tutors.

Academic and Pastoral Support Policy (PDF)

Training and Resources

This included support for staff in their new roles and for some with new responsibilities, training in the use of the new suite of online tools, advice on individual and group meetings, and information on broader student support arrangements at a local and University level.  Key elements of this provision included presentation material for use in college and school briefing events, and web-based information and resources. Frequently Asked Questions on the new arrangements for students and staff, a benchmarking event to build awareness and engagement with Enhancing Student Support based upon existing practice nationally and in Edinburgh, and the establishment of practice and leadership networks for Senior Tutors and Student Support Teams were other important elements of support developed.

Online tools:

  • A new suite of online tools to support recording and scheduling meetings was created.
  • An online facility for students to formally request a meeting with their tutor was created.

Project Communications

Agreement on quality assurance and enhancement processes following project completion

Monitoring, evaluation and enhancement reports

Postgraduate Research Students  

Phase three of the original Enhancing Student Support (ESS) project focussed on the supervisory and support framework for postgraduate research students. The support needs of postgraduate research students was scoped and it was agreed that a Personal Tutor in the form developed for taught students was not the exact ‘fit’ needed for research students. It was recognised however that an additional and importantly ‘neutral’ layer of support was required beyond the normal academic supervisory arrangements. It was also recognised that additional time would be required to fully redevelop the postgraduate research support framework (far beyond what was envisaged for the original three-year duration of the ESS project). Consequently, it was recommended that phase three of the project, focusing on postgraduate research students, became a new strand to be overseen by the Senate Researcher Experience Committee. 

Want to know more?

My Personal Tutor – information for students

Personal Tutors and Student Support Officers – information for staff