UKAT is the first allied group of NACADA (the Global Community for Academic Advising) to be established outside North America. It was founded in 2015, responding to a perceived need for a forum for discussion, debate and the exchange of ideas on current issues in personal tutoring and academic advising. Colleagues from across the HE and FE systems believed that there was a lack of opportunities for professional development in this area, which they felt was given a low priority in many institutions. Our first conference, which attracted over 100 attenders, was held at Southampton Solent University in 2015, and the second will take place at Leeds Trinity University in April 2017.
We believe strongly that effective advising and personal tutoring is essential for student success, and aim to bring together those engaged in this vital area of student support. A key aspect of our activity is the sharing and dissemination of good practice, through conferences, webinars, articles and e-mail discussions. At a time when wider access and higher fees are making academic student support more necessary than ever, and when many HE and FE institutions are reassessing their advising and tutoring provision, UKAT offers opportunities for professional development, networking and leadership training for all, whether academics, administrators, professional advisers, counsellors or others, who are committed to enhancing their students’ educational development through high-quality advising and tutoring. Members are drawn from all regions of the UK and belong to institutions from across the spectrum of HE and FE; they bring to the association a wide range of experience and different perspectives.
As a young association, UKAT is very much a ‘work in progress’, and we welcome and value our members’ input and their views as to our future development. A relatively new area of our work is the research agenda; we aim to address the paucity of high-quality research into the theory and practice of academic advising and personal tutoring, and invite members to contribute to this exciting aspect of our mission.
For too long, personal tutoring and academic advising have not been given the attention they deserve in UK institutions. UKAT aims to redress this situation, offering professional development and training in this vital area, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and working to ensure that tutors and advisers receive the respect they deserve. We invite all those who share our vision to join us and contribute to it.