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Teaching-related staff roles - key responsibilities

Introduction

This page lists the core responsibilities for a number of roles in the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Schools. The intention is to clarify for all staff and students what these roles entail, and the key responsibilities of each. We also provide links to information you might find helpful.

The roles described here are:

  • Personal Tutor (to Y1 and Y2 UG students)
  • 3rd Year Project Supervisor & Personal Tutor (combined role)
  • Lab / Examples Class Supervisor
  • MSc Project Supervisor

Personal Tutor

It is University policy for every student to have an Academic Advisor. In our School this is part of the important role of the Personal Tutor.

Responsibilities
You have a pastoral role. You are a friendly face. Take every opportunity to speak to your students. Help, encourage, enthuse. Raise your students' ambitions.

In addition to the work taking place in each tutorial, you take a personal interest in each of your tutees. You ask them at each meeting how things are going. You ask them about their career aspirations and what they are doing to get themselves in the right position to achieve their goals. You encourage them to pay attention to the non-technical aspects of 1st year project as well as the technical ones so that they understand that employability involves many more factors than just technical knowledge. You are available to assist and advise your Tutees however you can, referring them to the relevant Year Tutor/SSO for matters where you lack the knowledge/speciality to help them yourself.

Meetings with your Tutees
You meet with your Tutor group regularly, without fail. For Y1 this is weekly. For Y2 this is fortnightly. If you are unable to attend a Tutorial, please tell your tutees in good time, and arrange an alternative time with them to run that Tutorial.

Tutorial attendance report
You will receive an email asking you to report attendance for each tutorial. Please reply to this immediately after your tutorial. The Year Tutors use this data to track students with problems -- it is essential that they receive your reports immediately after your tutorial. The data also needs to be collected to comply with Tier4 Visa legislation.

Tutee problems report
You may also receive reports from the Year Tutor about those of your tutees who are failing to attend classes and/or submit work. Please do not ignore these reports. Show the report to the student (privately, at the end of the tutorial, for example) and talk about the reasons/consequences of their falling behind.

Resources

3rd Year Project Supervisor

Personal Tutor
As well as Project Supervisor, you are the project student's Personal Tutor, and your pastoral role is the same as described above.

Project Supervisor
As a Project Supervisor you play a crucial role in the academic development of the student, as well as the student's perception of the way they are treated by the School. Educate, encourage, enthuse. Pay particular attention to their career planning, asking them who they have consulted about their plans, their CV, what they are doing to secure a job. Make sure they are aware the School has an Employability Tutor -- Duncan Hull (hulld@cs.man.ac.uk).

Meetings
You are expected to meet your students weekly, to review their project progress. If you are unable attend a scheduled meeting -- tell the student and rearrange, or hold a Skype meeting -- please do not leave a student standing outside your door wondering where you are. If your students arrive unprepared it is your job to find out why -- to investigate and see if there are technical or non-technical problems that the student is not revealing, and to suggest strategies for overcoming them. You should aim to educate the student, not just comment on whatever work they produce. You should also enquire about their general progress -- "how are things going?". If you become aware of any serious problems the student may be having, refer them to the relevant 3rd Year Tutor.

Attendance report
You will receive an email asking you to report attendance for each project meeting. Please reply to this immediately after your project meeting. The 3rd Year Tutors use this data to track students with problems. It is essential that we track any problems, and we rely on your cooperation to do this. The data also needs to be collected to comply with Tier4 Visa legislation.

Resources

Lab (and Examples Class) Supervisor

Preparation for labs
Staff responsible for supervising laboratories should ensure that their demonstrators are adequately trained and familiar with the lab material.

Your attendance in the lab
Staff responsible for supervising laboratories should be in attendance for the duration of the lab, arriving promptly to check the equipment and the environment. If you are unable to supervise a lab, it is your responsibility to arrange for a deputy to do so. If this proves impossible, or in an emergency, please contact SSO (sso@cs.man.ac.uk), who will alert the relevant Year Tutor. Please regard supervising your labs as an equally important activity as giving your lectures.

Process
Take the attendance register near the beginning of the lab, and sign the demonstrator time sheets at the end of the lab.

Academic role
Lab supervisors should be expert on the exercises (having performed them themselves) and be available to provide help and guidance throughout the laboratory. They should ensure that demonstrators mark and give feedback in a consistent way.

Actively supervise
You should aim to educate the students in the lab. Try to speak to each of them. What problems are they facing? can you give them any advice? Don't wait for them to come to you - it's your duty to find them.

Train your demonstrators
Check your demonstrators are providing informative comments as feedback - comments that explain where they have gone wrong and most importantly how they could do it better next time - you should educate the demonstrators and they should educate the students in their interactions and in their marking.

MSc Project Supervisor

The role of the supervisor is to provide intellectual guidance and offer advice on the planning and progress of the project. It is, however, the role of the student to carry out the project.

Meetings
You are expected to meet your students weekly or fortnightly, to review their project progress. At this meeting you should also enquire about their general progress and well-being: "How aref things going?". If you are unable attend a scheduled meeting -- tell the student and rearrange or hold a Skype meeting.

Pastoral Care
If you become aware of any possibly serious problems the student may be having, refer them to the relevant (Associate) Programme Director.

Attendance monitoring
The student submits fortnightly brief reports in BB9. Should a student fail to make contact or show up for meetings, please report this to SSO.

Feedback on Writing
Students should get helpful feedback on a first draft of their reports (progress report and thesis), also regarding English Language and academic writing.

Resources
For more detailed guidance see the MSc Handbook, in particular