New student support model

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The current Personal Tutor and Student Support model at the University has been running since 2012, however feedback from students and staff has confirmed both significant variation in how the current model is delivered, and declining levels of satisfaction with the system overall. There have also been significant concerns about sustainability of the approach, with evidence of growing pressures on both personal tutors and school support teams.

Following an intensive review and consultation throughout 2019, plans for an ambitious and exciting new model of student support were developed. Integrating ideas and advice from staff and students across the University, as well as benchmarking across the sector nationally and internationally, these bold new plans are designed to transform the way we provide support to Undergraduate and taught Postgraduate students. The model is designed to deliver substantial benefits to both students and to staff working in this critical area.

In the new model, academic staff will be released from Personal Tutor duties. Expanded teams of trained professional services advisers in each school will take on the day to day work of supporting and advising students. There will be mental health support embedded in each school to work alongside existing support services such as the counselling service. At the same time, new senior academic roles will be created to lead in creating a sense of belonging within programmes of study, orientating students into academic life at the University, creating opportunities to build new relationships, and supporting their transition through their studies.

The expansion of Professional Services student support teams, with new roles preserving a named-contact relationship for students, will give students access to staff dedicated to and skilled in enhanced course and programme advice and guidance, wellbeing, and mental health, and professional and academic and study skills development.

The new model will also look to build on and expand the well-established Peer Assisted Learning and Support schemes (PALS), making sure that peer-to-peer support is a key resource for all taught students, UG and PG.

After a delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, in October 2021 the University Executive approved delivery of the new model, initially involving nine Schools across the three Colleges. They will be providing support to their students under the new model from September 2022, with all remaining Schools and Deaneries moving over from September 2023.

Each College has set up local implementation groups, supported by a central Strategic Change team. The teams working on the new Student Support model are keen to involve staff and students in the implementation of this work across the University, and welcome any feedback you may have.

The team is keen to hear from you on how best they can deliver this. You can find out more about the new model, and the implementation project along with their contact details on the Student Support SharePoint.

Photography: Allan Shedlock Photography