Research Question:

How do university lecturers’ experiences of being ‘cared for’ impact on the role of academic tutor? How can reflection on this bring new ways of looking at the 21st century student?

Additional Questions:

What are the implications of this for the design and organisation of tutoring roles and systems? What are the implications of this for the model of attendance universities require?

Sometimes, staff expectations of their students appear to be rooted in the previous experiences of the individual tutor, where the incoming students are compared to some idealised notion of what a student is, was or should be.  This may be based to some extent on what the individual tutor has experienced as a successful ‘way of being’ that has been internalised and become part of the tutor persona and informs their interactions with students. If we accept that the primary focus of students on the role is to observe some ‘care’ from their tutor, then we can ask what experience of ‘care’ has the tutor received that either enables or hampers their success as a tutor.

We propose a co-designed iterative development of a staff training session for tutoring/advising which encourages staff to reflect on their own experiences of being tutored. We ask the questions:

  • What is this idealised notion of what a student ‘should’ take from a university experience? Where does this notion come from?
  • What is the staff experience of being tutored and tutoring and how does this feed into their own practice of care?
  • Is this notion of care affected by the way central services support is provided?
  • How can self- awareness especially re: tutoring take into account new ways of studying and acknowledge and empathise with contemporary realities for students?