The Code of Practice sets an expectation that there will be a minimum of 4 meetings per academic year (2 of which should be in the first term, some of which may be group meetings). Tutees may request impromptu or ad hoc meetings in addition to these scheduled meetings and you should try, within reason, to meet these requests. Your designated ‘office hours’ should not be a substitute for scheduled meetings with personal tutees. Some Departments, such as Chemistry, Criminology and Psychology, set aside particular weeks in the year for personal tutorials to take place, and this provides students with a more consistent experience.
- Think through how you will contact your tutees in the first instance. The tone of the email invitation to the first meeting is important and may affect whether your tutees attend or not. Which one of these emails would you rather receive:
‘I have been informed that you are my personal tutee this year. I will be holding a meeting on Monday 8th at 9am in my office for personal tutees’ or;
‘I am delighted to be your Personal Tutor this year. Please come to my office (SC 367) at 9am on Monday 8th – I am holding a group personal tutor meeting so that all we can all get to know each other and talk through any issues arising so far. Look forward to meeting you next week’?
- Identify your own expectations relating to personal tutoring and share these with your tutees. This might include, for example, how you wish to be addressed, how your prefer to be contacted, arrangements for periods of absence. You could usefully explore these expectations (yours and theirs) at your first meeting and draw up a set of ‘rules’.
- Consider meeting your tutees as a group in the first instance – less daunting for your tutees perhaps than meeting you individually and you can ensure that all your tutees are provided with the same, basic information.
- You should set a focus for each of the meetings so that you and your tutees can prepare adequately. There is a sample schedule in Appendix 2 of the Code of Practice.