Academic Guidance Framework

  • Academic Advisers form one part of a network explicitly focused on student advice and guidance, including other members of the Faculty – Programme Leads, Subject Co-ordinators, Module Leaders and Student Support Co-ordinators – who may be approached with questions or requests for help. Students may also use family and other more informal groups as sources of information and support, but here we are thinking of students at a point where they may need more specialist help, which the University provides through its guidance services.

    In line with the University Statement on Academic Guidance, each programme handbook has a section for students on: Support and guidance for you during your studies. This sets out the role of the Academic Adviser in relation to other sources of guidance on their programmes and should enable you and your advisees to identify easily where best to seek what kind of advice or guidance.

    Working within the academic guidance framework

    It is extremely difficult to predict how you might need to guide any individual student's use of this network. It may be more helpful to you to indicate here some underlying principles or ground rules.

    The whole network of support works to a simple ground rule of 'no wrong door'. A student may have approached the wrong member of staff for help, or be asking the wrong question. Rather than send them away, the principle is to try and connect the student to a named person behind the right door with the right questions to ask, before they leave your office. We want to bring to an end the 'from pillar to post' experience that some students describe when recalling their attempts to seek help and advice.

    The importance of being prepared

    Mandy Archer, Student Support Co-ordinator, on the importance of Academic Advisers being prepared with correct module choice information and regulations.

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    As an Academic Adviser, your focus is on supporting the overall development of your advisees but, from time to time, you will come across questions on, say, career direction or job opportunities. Or you may hear of personal or practical problems that may require the involvement of other units in the academic guidance network. On some occasions, it may be possible for you to work with your advisee to identify where you need to refer on to. At other times, you may feel that exploration of an emerging question or problem requires more time and you will decide to refer your advisee to one of your Faculty Student Support Co-ordinators for an extended conversation, having explained why you are doing so.

    A note on equality and diversity

    You will be working with a diverse range of students, and have a key role in promoting equality. In the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, we declare our objectives, which include: treating all individuals with dignity and respect; ensuring that opportunities for learning are made available on a non-discriminatory basis and that we provide a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for students, staff and visitors. The Equality Act 2010 protects people against unfair treatment on the grounds of Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion and Belief (including lack of belief), Sex and Sexual Orientation.

    Advice for newcomers

    Andrew Kerry, Academic Adviser in nursing studies and winner of the Student-led Teaching Award for Best Academic Adviser in 2013, offers advice for newcomers.

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