The Higher Education Research Act established a regulatory framework and the Teaching Excellence Framework with associated metrics for student retention, progression and employability. In meeting these requirements, the significance of personal tutoring is clear. Despite this, according to existing institutional research, there is a need for developmental support, greater clarification on the requisite competencies, and adequate recognition for those undertaking this challenging role. Moreover, arguably compounding these concerns is the lack of distinct professional standards for personal tutoring and advising against which to measure effective practice. This research draws on data gathered from a survey of practitioners designed to determine the demand for national personal tutoring standards, identify the competencies which may populate them, and determine the recognition with which they could be associated. Additionally, it evaluates the relevance, adequacy and usefulness of existing standards such as the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in HE. Important findings include a significant demand for a set of specific standards for personal tutoring and advising. Justifications provided for this and the opposing view are examined. Clarity for both individual practitioners and institutions was stipulated along with meaningful recognition and reward for this work which is considered highly important and yet ‘invisible’. The surveyed professionals in the field identified relevant potential content along with illuminating the debate about the relationships between personal tutoring, teaching and professional advising roles. Valuable critical analysis of standards, recognition and reward also emerged. This is considered by discussing the connection between standards and changes to practice, responses to policy developments and the purpose of ‘standards’ in comparison to ‘guidance’.
In this chat, Ben will lead a discussion of the proposition that the introduction of bespoke standards is a necessary response to alleviate some of the current tensions which beset personal tutoring and advising in higher education.
The Wakelet for this chat is #LTHEChat 157.
Ben is a Senior Lecturer in Academic Development at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education (HE) at the University of Derby. As Vice-Chair of the UK Advising and Tutoring association (UKAT), he has responsibility for professional development in this organisation which is the sectoral voice and lead for personal tutors and academic advisors. He is co-author of the highly regarded Effective Personal Tutoring in Higher Education which includes a foreword by Professor Liz Thomas, the author of the What Works? reports, seminal works on student retention and success. Previously, Ben undertook higher education research at the University of Lincoln and was a teacher educator within college-based higher education in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University. Going further back, he was Head of English and a full-time teacher of English for several years. He was the originator of UKAT’s current national webinar series, Tutoring Matters. His doctoral research is focussed on academic and pastoral support of students informed by critical pedagogy. He also happens to be a drummer in a Sheffield indie band… A keen writer and researcher within education, Ben is passionate about the impact the support side of a lecturer’s role, including personal tutoring and coaching, can have on students individually, as well as institutions more broadly, and I am committed to developing this field further. You can find out more about Ben’s work at www.benwwalker.co.uk.