Personal tutoring is the activity designed to 'improve the intellectual and academic ability and nurture the emotional well-being of learners through individualised, holistic support.' (Stock and Walker 2015, p.9)
At the heart of the activity is a partnership of trust between tutor and student and the wider university community, providing an environment in which the individual is recognised and enabled to thrive as they grow in awareness and take responsibility as a life-long learner. Personal tutors are not counsellors nor have all the answers, but can coach students to identify the challenges they face and affirming them as they discover the answers and solutions, signposting and referring to appropriate support services, where needed.
Personal tutoring helps to establish a firm foundation for students to flourish, getting the most out of their time at university and enhancing their future potential. Personal Tutors help to 'pave the way forward' by supporting students in four main areas (PAVE):
- Pastoral - providing pastoral support, encouraging participation and engagement in university life, celebrating successes, and signposting to appropriate support services where necessary.
- Academic - Empowering students to facilitate their own academic progress and signposting to appropriate support services when necessary.
- Vocation - Encouraging students to consider potential mentoring and career opportunities, identify steps for career progression and set goals in collaboration with the Employability Service.
- Environment - Upholding St Mary's values of inclusiveness, respect, excellence, and generosity of spirit to build a sense of belonging within the student's programme and the wider university community.