The Academic and Professional Advisor Role in SBS

An evaluation of the
2011-12 experience
SHU Corporate plan aims for an excellent student
experience. In practice this means:
An enhanced course focus and strong course leadership;
Identifying success factors and performance indicators;
Academic and career management support for students;
A review of assessment practices;
A review of contact hours;
Improvements in timetabling to support the student
Support the personal action planning
of students with respect to the
development of their academic and
employability skills;
Support transition into level 4 and
bring to the attention of students
resources to support academic and
employability skills development;
Motivate and support students in their
endeavours to secure a placement at
level 5 (slight variation for nutrition
Facilitate awareness, understanding and
planning for the future in the context of
students’ career aspirations at level 6;
Communicate with relevant Course
Leaders concerning any issues affecting
the academic and personal development
of students and identify those students
‘at risk’;
Act as a personal referee for students
when requested and support students in
the development and completion of a
high quality CV.
Academic / Professional Advisors held one-to-one
meetings with their allocated students
Duration of meetings: 20 minutes
The first meetings took place November
The second meetings took place February
Advisors contacted students to communicate the
date/time/venue for the meeting
Advisors requested to record attendance and alert
Course Leaders of any absentees as and when they
Before the meeting students asked to complete
templates - bring to meeting - these used as a
basis for discussion
Level 4 - focus - academic development
Level 5 - focus - academic development and
placement support
Level 6 - focus - academic development and
springboard into work
Templates available via SBS placement intranet
Level 4 - Flying Start
Level 5 - Staff from the
appropriate subject area
Level 6 - Tutors involved
with: the new post Placement module; WBL
module, PASBD module,
Project module, Business
Society and Culture (3)
Data gathered by:
Interviews (7 Advisors interviewed at level 5,
13 at level 6)
Student focus group
Overall attendance at level 5 - poor
Level 6 - very strong attendance on some
modules for meeting 1; attendance at meeting 2
variable; poor attendance on some modules
Students seemed more likely to attend meetings
 they had undertaken a placement year
 they had a familiar relationship with their APA
 meetings were insisted upon by the APA
Arranged during seminars (level 6) or e mail
Location - booked room or Deli Bar
Duration - from 10 - 90- minutes, average 30/30
Discussion - often not focused on the 'forms'
students were required to complete; (APA's did not
feel forms were that useful;) focus of discussions academic and personal development, addressing
specific concerns, module-related assignments
Some contact with students after meetings
Students unsure as to
purpose and relevance of APA
APAs not always clear about
'what they had to do'
Feedback from students on
meetings was varied
Flexibility of timing for
students was a key issue
Communicate the role to
students more powerfully
Encourage stronger relations
between APAs and students e.g.
by aligning seminar tutors with
APA role
Enhance connectivity between
APAs and other roles (placement
officers, course leaders)
Revise the APA guide for
students and associated
process; reduce overlaps
with level 6 employability
Introduce more guidance on
how to structure meetings
More briefing opportunities
for staff

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