Tag Archives: Academic advisor

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 (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/eddev/supporting-students/academic-advising/).

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.

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The Academic Advisor

The University has recently approved an updated Academic Advisor Framework. As highlighted in the Student Charter, all students at the University of Liverpool will be assigned a named academic member of staff as their Academic Advisor.

An associated handbook for Academic Advisors has also been produced which describes the role of the Academic Advisor and outlines the additional support that will be offered within schools and departments. The handbook has been developed by colleagues from the Centre for Lifelong Learning, in consultation with academic staff, professional services staff and representatives from the Liverpool Guild of Students. It sets out the minimum engagement expected by Academic Advisors. Schools and departments will provide supplementary information on the additional support provided to students and to academic advisors within their discipline. The handbook will be updated to include this information.

A new web page on Academic Advising is available on the Educational Development website at: http://www.liv.ac.uk/eddev/supporting-students/academic-advising/

The website includes:

  • A link to a brief video introduction on the role of the Academic Advisor.
  • A copy of the Academic Advisor Handbook 2013-14. School specific versions of the handbook will be made available from this web page.
  • Information on the range of academic and additional support services that are offered to students at department, school and institutional level.

Implementing the HEAR: Supporting Student development

On 25th April 40+ staff enjoyed a presentation by Rob Ward of the Centre for Recording Achievement. We invited Rob as a direct result of discussion at a previous event exploring the role of the Academic Advisor. His extensive knowledge of the origins, development and current position of the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) made for an entertaining and informative session.

Rob described HEAR and its purpose, but also drew on the real experiences of other universities as they work towards  implementation. Most universities are developing a HEAR (only seven so far seem to have decided against doing so), and all are at different stages. Rob’s presentation can be viewed on the following page: https://stream.liv.ac.uk/cvs2r3ar.

A key message from Rob is that an inclusive HEAR should be part of a system to support students’ development throughout their studies and provide evidence to help them to move forward into employment, training or further study with confidence. Certainly all the signs are that employers see real benefits in the HEAR. The Association of Graduate Recruiters have developed a series of pamphlets in support of HEAR.

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The Role of the Academic Advisor

On 19th March over 60 staff from across The University came together for a fascinating, and we hope, really useful, event focused on The Role of the Academic Advisor.

Since The University initiated the change from Personal Tutor to Academic Advisor there has not been a university wide opportunity to wrestle with the impact of the change, how it is working, and especially to think about issues such as; what works well? What could be better? How can we ensure equity for students? How do staff and students get the information they need to support their academic and personal development? How could we use the resources such as Liverpool Life to support staff to support students? And, sneaking in at the end, what are the implications of the Higher Education Achievement Record?

We would like to thank the following people for their presentations:

  • Leah Ridgway, Electrical Engineering and Electronics: A personal view of her role as Academic Advisor.
  • Matt Murphy, Carnatic Hall Warden: Arguing for closer ties between the halls, as a transition point for students, and academic departments.
  • Jonathan Iggo, Chemistry: Looking at the role of personal tutor within the context of a department wide approach.
  • Janet Strivens, Centre for Lifelong Learning: The role of Academic Advisers in relation to assessment and feedback.
  • Warren Barr, School of Law and Social Justice: The Academic Advisor as a major gateway to engaging students with the huge variety of services and opportunities offered by the University of Liverpool.
  • Jo Sharp, School of Health Sciences: On a structured, whole school, approach to Academic Advising and support for personal development planning.
  • Freya Jarman, Music: The role of the Academic Advisor and the delivery of ‘study skills’ sessions for first year students as a transition into academic and student life.
  • Lynn Williams, School of Medicine: The adaptation of the Academic Advisor system to the five year, non modularised programme in medicine to cope with placements in the contexts of very a large student body.
  • Liverpool Guild of Students: What does an Academic Advisor look like? Using feedback from students LGoS highlighted key aspects of the role and discussed examples of best practice and how to identify and disseminate further good examples.

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