The role of a personal tutor in Higher Education (HE) is debated in current academic literature. Whilst the efficacy of tutor practices and staff perception of the role have been researched extensively, less research has focused on the students’ perception of their personal tutors. A discrepancy in staff and student perceptions of the role may result in student dissatisfaction. The aim of this investigation is to explore student perceptions and experiences of personal tutors at Hartpury College in the HE Equine Department. A focus group was utilised to gather the experiences of 9 HE Equine students at Hartpury College, representing a range of programmes and levels of study. Questions were drawn from previous research in nursing literature on student perceptions of their tutor. This study identified three higher order themes from the qualitative analysis: support from tutors, relationship to tutors and coping strategies. Students in this study identified the need for available, approachable and contactable tutors with whom they can build professional working relationships during their first year of study. Students who did not perceive their tutor to meet these criteria, or with whom they could not build effective relationships, sought support from ‘adopted’ tutors to meet their academic needs. The need to implement more structured and available support for students at Hartpury College is evident, through re-evaluation of the tutor role and subsequent workload and structural changes to the quality and timing of student contact. There is possibility to consider a Senior Tutor role in the current tutorial system, as seen in other institutions whereby students can contact the Senior Tutor regarding support queries to ensure all tutors are effectively supporting students.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2016|