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Student Support

The School of English takes pastoral support of students seriously and provides a variety of services to students which help ensure their smooth, and hopefully happy, progress throughout the degree. Staff in the School work in conjunction with the Student Guidance Centre and the School's innovative Peer Mentoring Scheme offers student-led support to students at all stages of their degree.

The Personal Tutor System

All full-time staff act as Personal Tutors / Advisers of Studies to Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 students. Personal Tutors will be assigned from the beginning of the degree, and they will remain students' Personal Tutor throughout their course of study at Queen’s. At Stage One, students will meet their Personal Tutor on a one-to-one basis at least once per semester. These meetings are compulsory; if students fail to attend, they will be emailed by their Tutor and/or the School Manager to explain their reasons for not attending, and they may also be asked about this at the School Student Progress Committee later in the year.

The main roles of a Personal Tutor/Adviser are: to oversee students' degree programme, and ensure that they are properly registered for the appropriate modules; to act as a first port of call should they encounter any difficulties during their time here at Queen’s; to help students reflect upon their progress and, through this reflection, improve their academic performance. If students wish to change their programme or alter module choices, they will need to discuss their options with your Personal Tutor/Adviser. It may also be the case that students need to discuss problems which, while not directly relevant to their academic career, might affect their academic progress. Tutors/Advisors will be happy to guide students in these circumstances, or to direct them to appropriate University support services.

Personal Tutors will:

  • maintain regular contact with students through one-to-one meetings, e-mail and other communications
  • help students settle into their course
  • provide guidance on critically evaluating feedback on students' work, and how to take account of other indicators of academic performance
  • promote reflection upon and support for students' general academic development while they are on their course
  • promote other activities and experiences related to students' career and personal development
  • act as a referral point to other relevant support services within the University. There is a range of services available to support students, so they should approach their tutors as soon as they experience any difficulties.

Peer Mentoring

All Stage 1 students of English and Linguistics are assigned to a Peer Mentor (PM): a Stage 2 or Stage 3 student who will help them make the transition from school to university, and guide them throughout the first year programme. Amongst other issues, students will cover the following with their PM:

  • Integrating with a new learning environment
  • Managing study time, in terms of planning and prioritizing work, setting goals and action plans
  • Writing skills appropriate to university level
  • Using the library and other university facilities
  • Building relationships with other new students and university staff
  • Highlighting career paths and progression opportunities linked to the degree

Participation in the Peer Mentoring Scheme will enable students to maximise their academic potential by showing them how to enhance participation in the life of the School. Students will learn how best to participate in lectures and tutorials, so that they can realise their potential as undergraduate students of English.

Students meet their PM and other members of the mentoring group at the start of first semester. We encourage students to make full use of the programme of mentoring sessions and events, including weekend activities, and to use the opportunities for individual guidance sessions with PMs.

The Peer Mentoring Co-ordinator in English is Dr Joan Rahilly.

Other Student Support and Pastoral Care in the School

Students are free to consult members of staff other than their Personal Tutor or class tutor, such as the School Manager or the Director of Education. If students' academic work is being adversely affected by any circumstances, it is vital that they tell the School so, even if they would rather not share the details. We will do what we can to help and facilitate students' academic progress. The Director of Education is available for consultation by appointment through the School Office. She will respect students' confidence and advise on how best to proceed. Where required, she will operate as an interface between the School and the Student Counselling Service and other University and extramural support services.

Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy

The University’s Student Charter, its Policy on Equality and Diversity and its Student Anti-bullying and Harassment Policy make reference to working in a learning environment which is free from harassment including discrimination, victimisation and bullying, and expects individuals to treat fellow students, staff and visitors equally and respectfully. In line with its regulations the University will take disciplinary action against students who cause distress by comments made about others, whether said or in writing. This includes comments written in the public domain, for example on social networking sites.