Academic Advisers are provided for all undergraduate students at Kent to:
- Support their academic and professional development
- Encourage students to develop their independent learning and personal planning skills
- Raise awareness of the opportunities available to students for developing graduate attributes and skills
Although the implementation may vary according to specific local needs and student support structures in Schools, this system will ensure that:
- All students will be allocated an Academic Adviser at the beginning of their period of study, who will be an academic member of staff
- The Academic Adviser will play a proactive role in supporting the student’s general academic development
- The Academic Adviser will hold meetings with students at specified times in the academic year.
Roles and responsibilities
Students will be assigned an Academic Adviser at the beginning of their period of study to:
- Provide developmental and holistic academic advice and guidance
- Provide proactive and structured support at key stages in each year to establish an ongoing relationship
- Provide advice on module choices and registration, if required
- Review overall academic progress and reflect on development of skills and attributes
- Advise on opportunities for development within and outside the curriculum
- Refer the student, as appropriate, to other specialist sources of academic advice and personal support
- Write references for students, on request.
Academic advisers will meet individually with each student at least, once each year and twice in the First Year (at induction and in Term 2). In the first meeting, the Academic Adviser will meet with students in small groups to explain the Academic Adviser system, the support offered in terms of academic development, to set expectations (availability, contact details) and boundaries of engagement (confidentiality). This will help establish student groups linked to each adviser and will then be followed up by 1:1 meetings to assess how well individual students are progressing.
Academic Advisers may offer office hours or engage with students through Moodle, SDS or email and/or refer to other points of contact/information, as required. The focus of the meetings will be:
- Stage 1 – Getting Started at University
- Stage 2 – Developing as an independent learner
- Stage 3 – Preparing for employment.
In each meeting, there will be a review of academic progress, coursework feedback and personal and skills development.
User guides for staff and students, and information about setting up, and joining the Academic Adviser, groups is available at MyFolio (log in). Students are encouraged to reflect on their academic development and possible areas for discussions using the progress report in the PDP section of MyFolio, which includes proforma templates that also set the agenda for meetings.
All Academic Advisers should be named on the student record through SDS and the agreed actions from each meeting noted in the ‘Tutor Notes’ section of the record, which is visible to the student. Where there are confidentiality issues, the Academic Adviser should ensure that School/University policies are followed with regard to the storage of records. Students will be encouraged to review their progress against any action plans agreed at each meeting.
Changing Academic Adviser
In exceptional cases, students may request or need to be assigned a different Academic Adviser, but for continuity of engagement and relationship building, it is proposed that this should be after a minimum of one academic year. Likewise, students will be re-assigned an Academic Adviser when a member of staff goes on sabbatical or leaves the University.