We pride ourselves at Bucks on the professional and supportive relationships we build up with our students. We are known for being a friendly institution and get to know our students well during their time with us. One way for you to get the most out of your study programme is to engage with our personal tutoring system.
Personal tutoring is an essential part of the Bucks New University student experience and makes a significant contribution to the retention and success of our students. Its purpose is to support you with your learning and development and provide you with someone to turn to and talk things through if you need general advice, feel confused or left behind. A Personal Tutor is a sympathetic listening ear, someone who will help you to make the most out of your time at Bucks, stay on track and achieve your best potential.
Understanding the Personal Tutor Role
The Personal Tutor role is very varied but their key responsibility is to help you progress and succeed on your course. Other roles such as Research Students' Tutor, Course Leader and Placement Supervisor may also perform the function of Personal Tutor for part-time or postgraduate areas of study. However, their fundamental role is to assist with the following areas:
- helping you to adjust to university life and offer support and encouragement
- listen to concerns and problems which may be affecting your ability to study
- guide you to become an independent learner
- help you understand the principles of The Learning Partnership Agreement along with relevant University rules and regulations and what is expected of you academically
- monitor and discuss with you your progress and help you to reach targets and goals
- help you to get the best out of assessment feedback so that you can make any necessary improvements
- where appropriate, guide you to take up opportunities for employability and skills development to enable you to recognise and reach your career objectives
- keep a record of your meetings so that you can be reminded of what has been discussed and agreed
- treat meetings as confidential and in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
How often will we meet?
Personal Tutors will normally be required to meet individually with their tutees during their induction and at least twice more during each academic year. Your tutor will also let you know when they are available in their office for additional booked meetings if required.
What is expected of your Personal Tutor?
- to be available to listen and advise across a range of academic and personal issues
- to inform you about times of availability and other means by which they can be contacted
- to respond to reasonable requests for additional appointments if the need arises
- to inform you in advance if they are unable to attend a meeting
- to identify where additional advice and guidance may be required and refer you to specialist support and services
- to enable you to see information about yourself which is held on your student record.
What is expected of you?
- to ensure that you know who your Personal Tutor is and how and where to contact them
- to check your university e-mail regularly to see if appointments have been made or changed
- to fully engage in tutorials to discuss course progress and career aspirations as well as any additional advice and guidance which might help you to succeed in your studies and beyond
- to keep in contact with your tutor and turn up to meetings on time
- to request an additional meetings if required
- to talk to your Personal Tutor about any special circumstances which might affect your studies, if you are going to miss classes and things you are unhappy with or confused about
- to respect office hours unless it's an emergency
- to prepare for meetings.
Questions you might want to ask
How do I find out who my Personal Tutor is?
You will be allocated a tutor at the start of your studies and should normally meet your tutor during your course induction whether full or part time. It will most likely be someone who teaches you though not always and we aim to let you stay with the same tutor for most of your course. For students on Undergraduate courses, level 6 dissertation tutors sometimes take on the role of your personal tutor in your final year, or it might be your placement tutor if you are undertaking placements.
Can I change my Personal Tutor?
We hope that the relationship with your tutor will be supportive and help you with your personal and academic development. However, sometimes there may be a reason why you would prefer to change your tutor. If this does happen try to discuss your concerns first with your personal tutor and see if you can resolve your differences. If not then you can request a change of Personal Tutor by contacting your Head of Academic Department to discuss your issue in confidence. If you would like to discuss this or don't feel confident about approaching your Head of Academic Department you can speak to an independent advisor in the SU Advice Centre
Will my Personal Tutor meetings always be on a one to one basis?
Not necessarily, some of your meetings will be just you and your tutor but on other occasions your tutor may hold group sessions which will enable you to meet with others and share common concerns and appreciate the benefits of a shared experience through learning from each other.
What kinds of things can I discuss with my Personal Tutor?
There are many different topics which you may wish to cover and these will vary according to course area and your experience of university life but might include:
- your overall performance in assessment, understanding your feedback and how to improve your grades
- your attendance and participation in sessions
- understanding university rules and regulations including Complaint, Disciplinary and Academic Misconduct Procedures
- health, finance, accommodation or other personal issues
- the Mitigating Circumstances process and how to apply
- activities and opportunities which you are involved with or want to be
- how to develop your career potential, finding part time work, internship opportunities and updating your CV
- improving study skills and how to avoid plagiarism
- how to give feedback via student surveys and other means
- what to do if you need to take time away from your course for personal/medical reasons or that you are finding it difficult to cope.
Some of these topics may require additional specialist input and your tutor will recommend that you make an appointment to see a central service member of staff to get the best possible guidance and advice.
Who else can support me at Bucks?
The relationship between the University and the Students is set out in our Learning Partnership Agreement which underpins all that we do at Bucks New University.