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Department of  Computing


This document outlines typical duties expected of the role, and may be subject to change.

Summary of role:
Personal Tutors should provide a source of support to their tutees, both pastoral and academic. If Personal Tutors do not feel qualified to advise on a particular problem, they should direct the student to an appropriate source of help/support. Personal Tutors are expected to be in regular contact with tutees throughout their time at College.  Most contact will be through meetings. E-mail, Skype or other media might also be used, particularly for students on placements. 

Duties and Key Responsibilities:

Personal Tutors should maintain an overview of their tutees’ academic progress/development and provide regular one-to-one feedback and guidance.

  1. Academic Development:  Personal Tutors might reasonably be expected to assist with:
  • Study skills: Advise students on drawing up study plans, learning strategies, time management, note taking in lectures, how to research a topic and write a report/essay. Information on study skills is issued in a booklet, which each student receives early on in their first year of study.
  • Exam preparations: Advise students on preparing for assessment. Students might also need tips on how to cope with exam stress. Some may benefit from attending one of the Exam Stress Workshops held at the Health Centre.

  • Mitigating circumstances meeting: Personal Tutors may be asked to comment on any special circumstances that need to be considered at departmental Mitigating Circumstances meetings prior to Examination Boards. Personal Tutors should inform Senior Tutors of any known special circumstances before such meetings. Students must submit a mitigating circumstances form, plus any supporting documentation, at the earliest possible time and according to departmental procedures.
  • Academic progress: Assist students with developing responsibility for their own academic progress. Monitor and review student academic progress and provide feedback on overall performance and report on this to Senior Tutors.  Personal Tutors are advised to keep copies of all their correspondence with their tutees. Personal Tutors may be required to write reports on their tutees.
  1. Professional Development: This in part overlaps with and builds on aspects of the Personal Tutor's role in student academic development.
  • References: Students can expect to name their Personal Tutor as a referee on job applications and/or applications for further study, and this can continue long after a student has graduated. See College guidance on writing references at:

  • Personal development plans: Students should be encouraged to draw up Personal Development Plans to help them take charge of their educational, personal and career development by reflecting on what and how they are learning. The College has a web based tool to help students draw up their plans:

  • Career planning: Students might ask their Personal Tutor for advice on option courses and on choosing a career direction. Students can be referred to the Careers Advisory Service for information about the various employment sectors, employers and general career development advice. Students intending to work in industry might also find it useful to contact the Department’s Industrial Liaison Officer.
  • Vacation work: Students might ask for advice on suitable vacation work for both the Easter and Summer vacations. Personal Tutors should be aware of the UROP scheme in particular and how it can benefit students.

  • Curriculum Vitae: preparing a CV.

  1. Pastoral Care: Students should be able to discuss with their Personal Tutor any problems they might have. Generally students are more likely to approach their Personal Tutor for advice/help if they establish a rapport early on. It is advisable therefore that Personal Tutors should meet their tutees early in the first term of their first year of study.
  • Student personal problems: These can include depression, loneliness, relationship problems, parental divorce, anxiety about parental health, bereavement, insecurities arising from transition to university, and concerns over money and accommodation. In all cases Personal Tutors should provide compassionate assistance and as appropriate give advice or refer students to the Senior Tutor and/or College welfare and advice services:

  • Emotional problems: The Student Counselling Service is always willing to see students in difficulty. If psychiatric help is necessary, it may be obvious that the student should be advised to go directly to the Health Centre. Students should be advised to see their Senior Tutor if you are uncertain what to do.

  • Bullying and harassment: It is advisable for Personal Tutors to refer problems about bullying and harassment to the Senior Tutor as early as possible with the student's consent.
  • Coping with a disability: Students who need help with a disability should be referred first to the Departmental Disability Liaison Officer. The College’s Disability Advisory Service (DAS) is available to discuss in confidence matters concerning access and accommodation or any other worries a student may have. The DAS can advise students about their eligibility for Disabled Students Allowance.

  • Money problems: Administrative problems such as late payment of grants or loans should be referred to Student Finance. Students should visit the Student Hub (Level 3, Sherfield Building) in the first instance. The Senior Tutor can assist students with appeals to the Access to Learning or Hardship funds.
  • Accommodation: The Private Housing Office is able to assist students looking for accommodation in the private sector. Legal quarrels with landlords should be referred to the Student Hub or the Student Union Advice Centre.

  1. Social Development: Personal Tutors can help establish a good social relationship between students and academic staff by encouraging their tutees to attend departmental events/functions. This is an important way of helping students settle into College life.
  • Cultural shock: International students especially may be feeling isolated and homesick, and be finding it difficult to adjust socially and to cope with language barriers. It can be useful if Personal Tutors can help introduce them to their fellow students who are already settled into life in London and Imperial. Students might also find it useful to contact the relevant International Students Society.

  1. Identify "At Risk" Students: Personal Tutors are often best placed to pick up early indicators of a student having academic/personal difficulties. Absenteeism from tutorials, failing to hand in work, achieving low grades can all be indicators of 'at risk' students. Personal Tutors should report matters of concern to the Senior Tutor. Personal Tutors should be aware of College policy on absence:
  • Absence due to illness: Students absent due to illness for more than one week should submit a medical certificate to the Senior Tutor. Illness can only be taken into account in mitigation of poor attendance/results if reported at the time it happened.
  • Other absences. If a student has to be absent from College for any reason other than illness, prior permission must be sought, usually from the Senior Tutor.
  1. Communications: Personal Tutors are often contacted by external parties for information about students; it is College policy not to divulge student information and all such enquiries should be referred to the Senior Tutor or Registry.
  • Requests from parentsIf asked by parents for information about a student, Personal Tutors should say they cannot divulge information without the student’s consent. If they persist, Personal Tutors should refer them to the Senior Tutor.
  • Requests from the police: Personal Tutors should refer requests from the police to the Senior Tutor. The police must request information on a Data Protection form.

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QAAC May 2012


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