Supporting the Development of Personal Tutors at UCL
UCL (University College London) was established in 1826. As of 2016 it had an official count of 29 students, or graduates as Nobel Prize winners. It is often ranked in the Top Ten universities in the world and is by total enrolment, the second largest university in the UK, with over 40,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in 2020.
All students on taught programmes at UCL are assigned a Personal Tutor. These Personal Tutors are not expected to solve student problems for them. They are expected to work with students to support them in identifying obstacles to progress and help them explore how they can successfully overcome them.
Dr Peter Fitch and his team at UCL’s Arena Centre provide training that ensures the Personal Tutoring and Research Supervision are of high quality. Recognising that non-directive coaching skills are a great enabler they approached us in 2018 to understand how we could help.
Since then, we’ve been delivering short interactive skills workshops that build on existing insights, enhancing the confidence and competence of Personal Tutors, Research Supervisors and other staff in student support roles. One key aim for workshops was for participants to be able to leave them with practical insights and approaches they could apply immediately.
Thoughts of participants:
“The format of the session was amongst the best I have seen – explain, show, give time for demo, Q&A. The people doing it were really charismatic, in a genuine way.”
“The session was very much to the point. It gave tips that are easy to implement. The examples were very enlightening – the first one was a lightbulb moment!”
“Super session, I like the analogy of ‘push vs pull’ and establishing a collaborative approach”
Following the successful workshops and Pete’s recommendation, our work at UCL expanded in 2021/22 to support the Faculty of Medical Sciences. In answer to the question: ‘On a Scale of 1-10, how useful did you find the session? Workshops achieved a 9.0 average.
We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with UCL in 2022, and beyond.
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