Personal Tutoring: An Overview

Goldsmiths is committed to providing a student experience which is intellectually engaging and challenging, and which promotes opportunities for personal and professional growth. Personal tutors are the first point of contact for students and have a particular role in assisting students with academic progress and offering general pastoral support. This is usually carried out through personal tutorials

A personal tutorial is the formal meeting/interaction between a personal tutor and an individual or a small group of students, where the discussion does not normally form part of the scheduled teaching programme. The meeting is normally an occasion for monitoring and information sharing rather than instruction.

Your Responsibility

Personal tutors help students achieve their best throughout their educational journeys at Goldsmiths and have important responsibilities. In particular, personal tutors:

  • provide guidance and support for students on academic matters and employability;
  • provide first line contact on pastoral issues and where necessary refer students to departmental senior tutors and/or appropriate college support services;
  • establish with their students the boundaries of the support that they can or cannot provide;
  • maintain accurate records of formal meetings with students in line with the College’s policy on Record Keeping and Confidentiality;
  • meet with their students twice a year (meetings might take a variety of forms such as online, individual and group meetings);
  • advise students at the start of each academic year of the arrangements for tutorials and post these arrangements on the Virtual Learning Environment.

Due to the nature of some disciplines some departments may have different arrangements for personal tutoring that fall outside of the broad remit of a personal tutor. Such departments must inform the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Committee (LTEC) with a rationale for not conforming to the norm.

Students’ Responsibility

Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and get the most of their studies during their time at Goldsmiths. To help achieve these aims, students:

  • attend and/or participate in organised tutorials and come fully prepared;
  • take the initiative to communicate any concerns to their personal tutor particularly those that may impact on academic performance.

Departmental Responsibilities

All departments at Goldsmiths have important responsibilities related to personal tutoring, as they determine the specifics of personal tutoring and make initial arrangements for students and tutors to meet.

Departments should write a document aimed at students which describes how personal tutoring is carried out in the department and convey this to students and staff. Students must also be informed at the start of the year of the name(s) of their personal tutor(s).

Departments are also responsible for creating a centralised list of the names of personal tutors and tutees that is updated and shared with relevant staff.

Heads of Department have additional responsibilities:

  • ensure that personal tutor expectations are disseminated to all relevant staff at the start of each academic year;
  • ensure that all academic staff with responsibility for personal tutoring undertake training each academic year;
  • monitor the effectiveness of personal tutoring within their departments through the usual evaluation processes such as DSCs, staff-student forum, programme monitoring etc;
  • ensure that should a personal tutor be unable to carry out his/her duties that suitable cover arrangements are put in place and communicated to students in a timely fashion;
  • deal with student requests for a change of personal tutor (students should be allowed to request a change of personal tutor by formally writing to the Head of Department).