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Personal Academic Coach

This guide provides information and guidance for the University's Personal Academic Coach approach to personal tutorials.

What is the Personal Academic Coach?

Personal Academic Coaching has a key and proactive role to play in the transition to University life and in supporting students through various stages of their journey, helping them to achieve their goals. It is a part of the University's commitment to an empowering academic experience, and, in line with our learning teaching and assessment Strategy, will support progression as independent learners and successful individuals. 

In the first term, the work of the Personal Academic Coach includes helping our students to settle into studies, and becoming established as part of their course and University community. Later on, the work will involve raising their engagement with the wider opportunities available at the University including employability, co-curricular and volunteering opportunities. 

The Personal Academic Coach has replaced our Personal Tutor role and process. 

Why a coaching approach?

Coaching emphasises the type of relationship that we want to foster, one in which our students are helped to develop:

  • self-awareness
  • resilience
  • autonomy 
  • their ability to solve problems and 
  • their ability to grow through their academic course. 

It does this through an emphasis on the students' agency, and encourages self reflection, goal setting and reflection on habits of learning, and their own strategies.

Our expectation is that the PAC provides holistic academic support for students, which allows them to join the dots on their progress across their modules and wider engagement. The core responsibilities of PACs as part of normal academic practice are to:

  • work with Course Leaders to arrange initial allocation and meetings with students.
  • Formally schedule meetings with students.
  • Enable students to settle into University, and to engage effectively in their studies through a review of their academic progress and engagement on a regular basis at each level of study.
  • Offer a supportive, constructive and accessible point of contact directly related to their course and career aspirations.
  • Support students to consider their progress holistically across all modules on the course, through personal reflection upon the feedback and grades they have received.
  • Support students to identify their strengths, weaknesses and developmental opportunities reflecting on how they can address these to progress effectively.
  • Support students to set goals and targets.
  • Encourage student completion of a record of discussion.
  • Keep records of attendance and engagement with PAC activity, following up with students and liaising with the Course Leader and Learning or Student Support Services as necessary.
  • Be an appropriate point of referral for, and direction to, other support services.
  • Support students in considering career ambitions directly and through referral to appropriate University services, including access to careers advice, placement / internship opportunities and extra-curricular activities.
  • Where required to act as a personal referee for students in applying for placements, internships or employment.

The PAC should not:

  • provide counselling, financial advice, disability and dyslexia support, health or wellbeing or any other specialist advice, but rather refer students to the appropriate Student Life services, supporting them in booking appointments if required.
  • Duplicate the role of Module Leaders/Tutors who provide specific subject advice. The PAC will focus on academic skills and provide holistic guidance on academic matters, learning habits and behaviours, learner engagement and career aspirations in the context of the entire course of study.
  • Influence the academic integrity of assignment and assessment processes and timescales. If students have legitimate factors that affect their performance, these can and should be addressed through formal extenuating circumstances and other suitable routes.
  • Stray into giving personal advice, based on your or others’ experiences (If I were you, I would…) or asking for details of the student’s personal life they have not volunteered.