27.   Student Support

The policy applies to the support of undergraduate students on modular programmes. The spirit of this policy also applies for students on the undergraduate non-modular programmes (BVSc, BDS, MBChB) where the support requirements for students on these programmes may differ due to accrediting body requirements.

27.1   The aim of the University’s model for undergraduate student support is to provide students with a productive, predictable and meaningful support experience, which also allows for the distinctive disciplinary traditions in the University to provide this support in a manner appropriate to their discipline. The key principles of the model are:

27.2   The University, through its schools, specialist central services and Students’ Union, will provide undergraduate students with an overall framework of support throughout their University lives, within which there are three elements:

All three elements of the student support process should be viewed holistically and is principally the responsibility of academic members of staff in Schools. Heads of Schools are responsible for the process and the quality of the support provided.

27.3   Schools will ensure that the identified elements of support are fulfilled as a coherent whole. The support structure will be based upon the following defined functions:

* In the professional non-modular programmes, an alternative title may be appropriate.

These roles do not necessarily have to be provided by different people and need not map directly onto the different elements of support, for example a Subject Tutor may also be a student’s Personal Tutor.

27.4   The Academic Personal Tutor role will ensure there is someone who: knows the individual student by name; has a holistic view of their academic development; monitors their progress; and, provides access to appropriate individual advice at critical points in the student’s University life to enable them to benefit from a liberal education. In order to fulfil these functions, there will be a regular programme of face-to-face contact between Academic Personal Tutors and their tutees.

27.5   The Senior Tutor role in each School will act as a focal point for School expertise in the process of supporting students and a person from whom the Academic Personal Tutor can consult and seek advice in particularly difficult cases. The role will provide an academic link with the central Student Support services, the International Office, the Students’ Union and other agencies, such that students are appropriately referred onto expert services, where necessary. A ‘Senior Tutor Network’ will enable good practice across Schools and act as a conduit to the central Professional Services.

The Senior Tutor role will also lead upon the provision and quality assurance of student support in their School, including the operation of academic personal tutoring and will report annually on the operation of student support in their School.

27.6   As far as is possible, a student should have one Academic Personal Tutor providing the overview of their academic progress, throughout their studies. Where this is not possible, Schools should ensure that a change in Tutor is managed carefully and any disruption is kept to a minimum.

27.7   The role of Academic Personal Tutor can only be undertaken by a member of University staff and is considered a core responsibility for an academic member of University of Bristol staff on pathways 1 and 3.

27.8   In the case of students who may find it inappropriate or uncomfortable sharing problems with individuals they feel may be assessing their work or forming academic judgements of them, Schools should designate and provide the contact details of an alternative pathway for advice that offer students a choice of how to raise and discuss personal issues, such as: a designated member or members of support staff within the School, in addition to the Students’ Union’s JustAsk service and/or one of the University’s central Student Support services.

For this purpose, Schools will identify a member or members of support staff in each School as an alternate point of contact.

27.9   Schools must have a procedure to facilitate any request from a student to change their Personal Tutor, which is sensitive to the problems that this can create.

27.10   Schools will describe the structure of student support including the support opportunities that are available to students in the relevant student handbook. A system of recording the attendance of both Tutors and tutees should be established.

27.11   Whilst the University will ensure that students are aware of and have access to the support opportunities that are available, the onus is upon the student to engage with these opportunities, as necessary.

Support arrangements in ‘non-standard’ programmes

27.12   The School, in liaison with central Professional Services (i.e. the International Office), must have arrangements in place to support students who are registered but studying outside of the University, such as those students who undertake a formal study abroad period, placements in industry or if they have been granted a suspension of studies.

A tutor within each School must maintain regular contact with students that study abroad or undertake a placement, whilst they are away from the University.

27.13   Students undertaking a joint honours programme must have an Academic Personal Tutor from the School that ‘hosts’ the programme to provide personal tutoring specifically relevant to the joint honours programme, who will liaise with the other School involved.

27.14   In the case of students who are ‘intercalating’, the ‘host school’ will provide subject tutoring for the intercalating period, whilst the home school will continue to offer support via the student’s existing Academic Personal Tutor.