Sharing Practice in Academic Advising

A recent university Learning and Teaching forum hosted by the PVC for Education, Prof. Gavin Brown, focused on the implementation of the Academic Advisor framework across the institution.

Stimulating presentations were given by academic colleagues, one of our students, and colleagues from Professional Services. A range of issues was covered including how the Academic Advisor framework is working in practice, feedback from students (including a group of students defining what an ‘ideal’ academic advisor might look like), advice on the wide range of support services available in the university, and additional opportunities such as the Year in China/Study Abroad programme.

The Academic Advisor Framework

The University of Liverpool regards the role of the Academic Advisor as a fundamental component of the relationship between academic teaching staff and students. It is a key contributor to a positive student experience. (Academic Advisor Handbook, 2015-16)

There are a number of key principles behind the Academic Advisor framework, one of which is the fostering of a partnership relationship between staff and students to promote their development as independent and scholarly learners.

To support the implementation of this principle, the Academic Advisor Framework recommends a number of key meetings between the academic advisor and their students which correspond to key points in the student journey. An outline of the generic meeting framework is discussed by Dr Anthony Sinclair , Student Experience Lead for Histories, Languages and Cultures here, but this framework can also be adapted locally. Further details are available in the Academic Advisor’s handbook (

It is also important that the ‘Academic Advisor …. develops a relationship with a student that is supportive in encouraging students to develop their skills for self-management and employment.’ . In this clip, Anthony Sinclair illustrates the range of topics that can typically be covered in meetings between academic advisors and students. The range of skills that enable students to be effective learners are in the main some of the same skills that employers will also be looking for, and so support for the development of these skills, and helping the student to recognise and articulate the development of these skills is also crucial.

The Student View

Colleagues from the Guild of Students have been very much involved with developing the current Academic Advisor framework, and also with collating feedback from students on how well the system is working, and how it can be improved.

Hear the views of Jack Trinder, a first year Health Sciences student, on how he perceives the role of the Academic Advisor . Jack also organised a group of Health Science students to meet to discuss how students might define the ‘ideal’ academic advisor. This is what the students said .

There are some key messages about the Academic Advisor that come through from the students, particularly the need to have a relationship with an individual staff member who knows the student, who cares about their development, and is approachable and accessible.

The Academic Advisor Framework in the context of the broader Student Support system

The role of the Academic Advisor is crucial in terms of student support, but it is also important to recognise how this role complements and relates to other elements of student support within the institution. Dr Paula Harrison-Woods, Head of Student Services, explains how the role of the Academic Advisor is an integral part of the newly developed Wellbeing Framework in this video clip. There are a range of student support services within the Student and Administrative Support department; the main services are outlined by Paula here.

As well as offering a well-designed and delivered curriculum to each student, the University has also developed the ‘My Liverpool’ web portal , ( , a ‘one –stop shop’ for students to find out about the vast range of co- and extra- curricular activities that are available to them through their departments, other University services ( e.g. the Careers & Employability Service) and the Guild of Students. A new My Liverpool e-Portfolio system is being introduced during the 2015-16 academic year, which will provide students with a summary of co- and extra- curricular activities that they have taken part in lasting more than 7 hours, and which will also include the opportunity for students to reflect on the skills developed through participating in these activities. Activities from the My Liverpool e-Portfolio will populate the Higher Education Achievement Reports (HEARs).

Further information

The video clips in the article above were extracted from some of the presentations given at the forum. You can view these (and other) presentations in full via the stream capture service using the links below.

Anthony Sinclair – The Academic Advisor Framework in Archaeology:

Pete Smith – The Academic Advisor Framework in Dentistry:

Graham Potts – The Academic Advisor Framework in Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences:

Jack Trinder – 1st year Health Sciences student:

Sarah Hussein – The Year in China programme:

Paula Harrison Woods:

The following web links may also be helpful: ttps://

Educational Development Staff