Why we need PATs

The Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) provides a vital service both within their own Academic Partner and across the University. It's the PAT who provides an informed response to academic studies queries from pre entry to post exit. The PAT also provides the essential first point of contact when a student raises a concern and provides students with support in the completion of online module and unit registration. As the main focus of the PAT role is to give academic support to a student, they are expected to provide signposting to all other services and assistance such as financial assistance and counselling services. The PAT also plays an integral role in the student withdrawal process.

The scope

The Personal Academic Tutor is a key person in supporting students during their studies with the University, this list outlines the range and limits of support you should offer students assigned to you.

Audio: A is for Academic

A is for Academic (2 minutes 29 seconds)
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The role of a Personal Academic Tutor

The range and limits of PAT support

  1. Provide an informed response to ACADEMIC studies queries at all points of engagement with the University from entry to post exit.
  2. Provide a minimum of one academic advisory session on an individual basis, where academic progress is reviewed per student each semester. This in addition to an introductory meeting in the first semester each year as part of an extended induction to University and the specific course/year of study. Records of these meetings to be kept in confidence and made available to others only with students' permission. Concern over academic progress to be discussed and actioned as appropriate.
  3. Undertake signposting and early referral to appropriate specialist information/ assistance/support for other issues such as: ICT access; library and learning resources; finance and personal concerns, including issues relating to disability or additional support needs; access to career development information available at the local academic partner and the University's careers and advice during a course of study and for an agreed period of time normally two years after graduation or leaving the University.
  4. When a student or staff member begins the withdrawal process, the Personal Academic Tutor will be notified to allow them to support the student and explain the options available to them.
  5. Provide information on University academic standards and quality regulations, including the avoidance of plagiarism and copyright.
  6. Advise and /or signpost students on matters relating to the programme of study, including the selection of modules and options
  7. Advise on study methods, academic writing skills and access to study support including the University online Essential student skills web based resources where required. Refer to appropriate study skill staff/resource within academic partner where available
  8. Provide assistance with the collation and presentation of information to support a claim for mitigating circumstances.
  9. Provide assistance and / or signpost in the production and maintenance of a personal development plan as appropriate.
  10. Assist in the facilitation of appropriate contact between students and programme leaders/ committees in relation to course issues and student academic representation.
  11. Respond to requests for job references as appropriate and for an agreed period of time normally two years after graduation or leaving University, in line with Data Protection requirements.

The National Student Survey (NSS)

'The National Student Survey (NSS) is a national survey which has been conducted by Ipsos MORI annually since 2005. It gathers opinions from final year undergraduates (i.e. HND/3rd Year Degree/4th Year Hons) on the quality of their courses. Aimed at current final year students, the survey asks undergraduates to provide honest feedback on what it has been like to study their course at their institution as well as areas that they feel could be improved. The NSS is conducted on an annual basis with The University of the Highlands and Islands taking part for the first time in 2013' (2014: 5).


About these resources

About these resources

The University’s Student Support team and the Educational Development Unit (EDU), have worked together to create this resource of interactive guidance materials, designed to support Personal Academic Tutors throughout the university colleges and research institutes carry out their duties and responsibilities effectively.

This resource is designed to be viewed online, but it can also be downloaded as a PDF document. Where you see the . A number of small sections can be printed separately and these are indicated by the print icon. It can be viewed on any device type or operating system. A headset and speakers will be required for the audio and video content. The resources have been structured around the four broad roles of a Personal Academic Tutor:

  • Academic advice
  • Signposting and referrals
  • Online module selection
  • Student withdrawal



The resources have been developed with the support of many staff outside of the project team including many contributions from existing PATs. The project team are proud of the fact that the resource that has emerged from current practice at UHI.

A number of staff contributed to the content of these resources – some provided source content; some provided advice and guidance and others reviewed the content for quality; accuracy and appropriateness.

Members of the project team were

Ian Horne – Ian.Horne@uhi.ac.uk
Evelyn Campbell Evelyn.Campbell.ic@uhi.ac.uk
Matt Sillers Matt.Sillers.ic@uhi.ac.uk
Valerie Innes Valerie.Innes@uhi.ac.uk
Heather Fotheringham Heather.Fotheringham@uhi.ac.uk

If you have any queries about the PAT role please contact:

Ian Horne - Ian.Horne@uhi.ac.uk 01595 771251
Michaela Gilmore Michaela.Gilmore@uhi.ac.uk 01463 27927

Encountering a problem

Encountering a problem

If you encounter any problems in using the material, please contact the EDU (email: edu@uhi.ac.uk) stating:

  • The name of the resource
  • The nature of the problem
  • The section of the material where the problem occurred
  • Which internet browser you are using.  This information can be found by going to - http://detectmybrowser.com/



UHI provides links to external sources of information and may refer to specific Web sites, products, processes or services within this resource. Such references are examples and are not endorsements and whilst every effort is taken to ensure the accuracy of information provided UHI is not responsible for any of the content or guidance. You are advised to exercise caution.

Information on social media websites may also be provided. Staff using social media websites must comply with the University’s social media policy. It is recommended that you fully understand the terms and conditions of use before using these sites and that you take steps to protect personal or sensitive data.




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