Being an Advisor
This section is designed to help you understand what is expected of an Advisor in Queen Mary. Many students will successfully complete their studies without seeking support from their advisors. However, for some having someone to take an interest and guide them will allow them to explore opportunities, find resources and reach support services that will impact not only on their ability to engage with their studies, but their development beyond the institution. Your role is not to be an expert in all aspects of the student experience, your role is to listen and signpost effectively. This site will help you navigate what is available if you are uncertain.
Advising is a fundamental part of the role of academics within Schools; to provide general academic guidance and personal support to a number of identified students (advisees). Normally, advisees are drawn from programme(s) on which Advisors teach, or at least from within the same school.
The support provided by Advisors can be categorised as academic, pastoral and developmental. Academic support includes “supporting the student to attain academic success and achieve the desired qualification”; pastoral support is regarded as “supporting the student on a more personal level to address any difficulties that they might experience in life that have an impact on their studies” while development support “includes general personal development” (Smith, 2005 p. 45).
Benefits for students
Students often do not know what support is available to them or how to make the most of it. Additionally, research in 2009 indicated as many as one third of first year undergraduate students have doubts about their course/institution that are strong enough to have considered withdrawing from university (HERE Project Toolkit). Many students have noted that having someone to speak to that can act as an interlocutor between the student and the institution and can help them formulate an action plan to access the right support has been invaluable.
“I'm glad I was put with (my Advisor), as in the first year I was very lost and unsure as to whether I would stay in education. Without the support of [redacted] I probably would have dropped out.”
“I was guided clearly about what steps to take to improve my grades, I received useful information to make responsible choices in the future. The meeting was short, to the point, the things discussed where specific and tailored to my performance”
“My Advisor listened to my problems and was able to give me a plan on how to improve my situation. His advice was good because it was realistic and helped me develop a positive outlook for the future”
Benefits for staff
Research conducted with Queen Mary staff in 2018 indicated that for many of them advising students was one of the most rewarding aspects of their job.
“In the context of an Advisor meeting, having that one-to-one interaction with the student and building up a working relationship, it can be particularly rewarding if a student has not fully realised their potential in the first year as you see the development in them in the second and third years”. (SBCS Advisor, 2018)
“It makes the environment between students and academics more collaborative, breaking down the academic-student barriers”. (SBM Advisor, 2018)
“It’s satisfying when your students get through a module and do well, through their degree programme and do well, when they go on to find a good job or get onto a postgraduate degree”. (SPIR Advisor, 2018)