Browser does not support script.

Learning and Teaching

Academic tutoring at York St John

How we help our students achieve their goals and add value to their educational experience.

Academic tutoring is a partnership-based academic support system which facilitates a personalised, purposeful and ongoing relationship between students and members of academic staff.

York St John University is committed to supporting our students' learning journey, developing, through dialogue, appropriate strategies for achieving and surpassing their goals while at York St John and beyond. Academic tutoring is one of the most impactful ways the University has of helping students achieve these aims and of adding value to their educational experience.

For full details of our academic tutoring approach, download our policy:

York St John Academic Tutoring Policy (PDF, 0.3MB)

Academic tutors and their roles

When they accept a place to study at York St John, our students are allocated a named member of academic staff with knowledge of their course or discipline as their academic tutor. Academic tutors guide their tutees through their courses and support their academic and professional development in relation to their studies. Academic tutors act as students' first point of contact if they have concerns or experience difficulties which directly affect their studies and their ability to engage with their academic work.

It is the role of the academic tutor to provide an ongoing link between students and the University, providing practical information about how the University works and what students need to study successfully. At York St John, academic tutors work collaboratively with our specialist student support services and require up to date, working knowledge of these so they can signpost students to them. Tutors also provide students with general support as they prepare to transition into employment or move on to further study by writing references and signposting to relevant specialist careers services.

Academic tutors are there to support their students through each stage of their educational journey at York St John. Although their principal role is to provide academic support, they can provide a listening ear and a support system for any struggles students have at University within certain boundaries, whether they are personal or academic.

Academic tutor responsibilities

At York St John University, academic tutors will:

  1. Act as tutees' primary point of contact, providing general, scheduled support for their academic studies and development during their time at York St John.
  2. Be available to meet with their tutees regularly throughout their course through 1 to 1 or group tutorial sessions as appropriate to level and programme.
  3. Inform students about and advise them when required on how to access specialist support services (signposting).
  4. Be proactive in contacting their tutees regularly, including, where possible and appropriate, before and on arrival, at the start of their course, at key transitions in their studies and if they cease attending timetabled teaching sessions without explanation. They will listen carefully, understand why and signpost students to other forms of support where needed.
  5. Initiate and foster discussions about students' personal and professional development planning, and encourage them to complete their Employability Profile as the basis of future references.
  6. Write references of a professional standard to support applications for further study or employment, as agreed with their tutees and within the timeframe requested by employers, Higher Education Providers, and so on.
  7. Respond within 2 working days to email communications or meeting requests.
  8. Keep accurate records of meetings using the Engage system in terms approved by tutees wherever this is practical.
  9. Be clear with tutees that disclosures made to and recorded by them are regarded to have been made to the University and that there are defined limits as to the extent to which information can be regarded as confidential.
  10. Undertake continuous professional development and maintain familiarity with the provision of University services in order to provide students with information on how to access such specialist support. In turn, it is the University's responsibility to provide appropriate training and regular updates to ensure such levels of knowledge and develop tutors' skills. 

Academic tutors are not expected to:

  1. Provide their tutees with specialised or specific medical or health advice or counselling. Academic tutors are not expected to go beyond the boundaries of their roles or expertise in relation to non-academic matters or needs.
  2. Dispense highly detailed specialist academic advice, for example on particular assignments that tutees are preparing, or mark work set as part of a module assessment. Students should seek input from module tutors for such guidance.
  3. Be available to support tutees outside of normal business hours or their typical working patterns.
  4. Be formally allocated or be informally undertaking levels of academic tutoring which risk unbalancing individual workloads or degrading the student experience and overall quality of the tutoring system. 

Academic tutee responsibilities

To make sure that the academic tutoring relationship is successful, tutees should:

Take responsibility for resolving problems considerately and ethically, and seek support when they need it, including meeting with their academic tutor.

Respond to requests from their tutor to discuss any unexpected absence from timetabled classes or their overall course so that their situation may be recognised, understood, and relevant support can be put in place.

Engage fully in any preparatory activities, come to tutor meetings ready and willing to contribute actively.

Support their peers in tutorial groups, engage fully and behave in a professional manner in group tutorial meetings and activities, remaining mindful at all times of the importance of maintaining appropriate boundaries and confidentiality.

Keep academic tutor appointments, whether 1 to 1 or group sessions, inform tutors in good time if unable to attend, and keep in touch with tutors using an agreed method, for example face to face, Microsoft Bookings, email, Microsoft Teams, phone.

Be prepared to discuss academic-related difficulties with, and provide all relevant information to, their academic tutor when asking for help so the tutor can signpost the tutee to the most appropriate support.

Update their Employability Profile regularly and share reflections on their personal, academic and professional development, strengths and weaknesses, with their tutor to enable them to write future references.

Agree with their academic tutor how the outcomes of tutorial discussions will be taken forward, follow through on the actions for which they have taken responsibility (including setting goals within Engage or their Employability Profile, as appropriate), and be ready to report back on progress at their next tutorial meeting.

What to expect from the academic tutoring process

The University aims to allocate tutees to tutors provisionally prior to students beginning their studies at York St John University, between confirmation and clearing and the start of the academic year.

Tutors should meet with their new tutees as near to the start of their courses as possible, usually Welcome Week or Week 0 unless students arrive late. They should meet with existing tutees on their resumption of their studies at the University.

Tutees will typically be invited to book 5 or 6 short and focused individual academic tutorials per academic year, together with 3 group tutorials. These should all be scheduled at points known to be important for student engagement, for example the start of academic year, and before or after vacations and assessment periods. There will be considerable variations in frequency and timing, to accommodate students' needs and the structure and requirements of individual programmes, including cohort size.

Tutorials may be undertaken face to face or remotely, for example using Microsoft Teams.

Academic tutoring is founded on the YSJ Principles of Academic Tutoring.