Personal Tutor (Research Students)

Information on the Personal Tutor (Research Students) role.

Each year, the School of Informatics assigns the duty of PGR Personal Tutor (PGR PT) to members of staff who are senior and experienced in their supervision of PGR students. 

The School has the PGR Personal Tutor role because some students may not feel comfortable talking to a member of staff if they deal with both academic and pastoral issues. Therefore, for avoidance of doubt, the Deputy Director of IGS has the responsibility for helping resolve academic issues (with the assistance and input from PGR PTs where required), whereas the PGR Personal Tutors should be responsible for helping support students with pastoral issues. 

The descriptions of the post cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, normally these will be broadly in line with the listed key responsibilities. Roles and responsibilities may also be subject to change.

Key responsibilities

Pastoral / wellbeing support for PGR students

The PGR tutors:

  • are expected to provide pastoral care to the School’s PGR community; they should be a visible and proactive source of independent support outside the student’s main supervision team.
  •  should be readily available to all PGR students to discuss their welfare and pastoral issues; PGR PTs should implement an effective contact and engagement system so that students can easily access PGR PT support when they require it.
  • are responsible for proactively referring students to appropriate sources of help and support in the University (and wider community) where appropriate to do so.
  • should discuss with PGR students how to manage the impact of pastoral or wellbeing issues on their academic studies. They should support and guide PGR students in finding practical resolutions to the pastoral issues and difficulties raised.
  • should have a working knowledge of the University policies regarding programme interruptions, extensions, disciplinary procedures and complaints and appeals, and are responsible for providing advice and guidance on these procedures to students if appropriate. 
  • are required to escalate serious issues of concern to the Deputy Director of IGS and/or the Head of Informatics Student Services.   

Support of academic progress

The PGR tutors:

  • will be expected to assist the Deputy Director of IGS with “return to studies” meetings where students are returning to studies after a period of interruption; the purpose of these meetings being to ensure the student is provided with appropriate guidance and help to successfully re-engage and progress with their studies.
  • are required to attend Institute annual review meetings. If issues with completion or engagement with the Annual Review process are raised, PGR PTs are expected to assist the Deputy Director of IGS in resolving these issues e.g. by attending a student’s Annual Review as an independent assessor.
  • should support the academic progress of PGR students and take action where there is cause for concern. 
  • are required to escalate serious issues of concern to the Deputy Director of IGS and/or the Head of Informatics Student Services.   

Support for academic staff

The PGR tutors:

  • are a source of advice and support for School academic staff who are concerned about a PGR student.
  • can make recommendations for the training and development of School academic staff with a PGR supervision role.  

Required training

All PGR tutors should complete the following IAD course at the start of their tenure period.

Practical Strategies for... Solution-Focused Personal Tutoring

This workshop will teach you the basic skills of solution-focused coaching to enhance personal tutoring. Solution-focused coaching is a powerful and efficient way to have conversations that create hope and promote positive action. It is proven to be more effective in improving mood and increasing self-efficacy than problem-based approaches.

By the end of the workshop you will know:

  • why talking about problems can often make things worse – and what to do instead
  • how to quickly shift conversations from problems and complaints to solution-building
  • key questions that can help struggling students to identify strengths and re-motivate them to succeed
  • how to help students clarify what they need to do and what support they might need from others

PGR induction activities

PGR tutors are expected to attend all PGR Induction meetings in Oct, Jan and May each year and host at the PGR induction lunches.

Updated 08/06/2022