Below is a list of frequently asked questions. Click on the question text to reveal the answer; click the question again to hide the answer. To refresh the screen click F5.

Q: Who is responsible for assigning a PAT?

A: This is the responsibility of the student's Home Academic Partner. Each college will have their own internal process for ensuring this happens in an appropriate manner.

Q: What does HAP mean?

A: HAP stands for Home Academic Partner. The HAP is the academic partner at which the student is based and enrolled. The HAP is expected to:

  • Be an Academic Partner of UHI
  • Enrol students on their programme
  • Provide the student with a local induction
  • Provide appropriate library1 , VC and PC access
  • Provide pastoral support e.g. information on funding, counselling
  • Provide a Hosting Manager
  • Provide rooms/labs/workshops2 etc. as required for course and facilities for exams and assessments.
  • Collect fees
  • Ensure each student has been provided with a Personal Academic Tutor.

1 It is recognised that under certain circumstances inter library loans and provision of electronic text may be required to support hosted students. Flexibility is required for students studying in rural locations where books take longer to arrive via post.

2 In a situation where a HAP does not have laboratory or workshop facilities to support a particular programme then students on that particular programme should not normally be hosted at the HAP.

Q: Does this mean that the HAP provides a PAT and the programme team also provide a student advisor? Who would be the named contact in SITS?

A: No, definitely not. Each student has only one PAT and that is the PAT provided by their HAP. Programme teams should not be providing a duplicate role. It is the PAT as specified by the HAP that will be recorded in SITS.

Q: If a student is not based within a UHI AP e.g. they are studying on a wholly online programme and live in England, who assigns their PAT?

A: The student's HAP would be the recruiting academic partner. It would be the responsibility of that HAP to provide a PAT for those students just as they would do for any other.

Q: Are PATs assigned to HN students as well as degree students?

A: Yes. The introduction of the PAT role related to all UHI HE students.

Q: Do PATs need to have subject specific knowledge directly relating to the subject studied by their students?

A: PATs will be expected to have an understanding of academia, programme structures and relevant quality guidelines but does not need to be expert in the subject studied by their students, although they could be.

It is expected that a PAT will fit one of two profiles:

  1. A member of academic staff acting as a PAT for students studying a wide range of subjects. This is particularly likely in smaller APs with a number of students on a programme of study for which the HAP does not employ a module leader for any modules relating to their programme'.
  2. PATs who are most probably lecturers on the programme in question or a related subject area.

N.B. whilst a PAT will often be a subject expert in their students' programme of study the PAT is not expected to bring that subject expertise to bear. When subject specific questions arise, the PATs' agreed responsibility is to refer the student to the Module Leader, co-deliverer or Programme Leader as appropriate.

Q: Does the remitted time allocation for the PAT role relate to the whole year or just the teaching weeks?

A: The PAT is the PAT for the whole of that academic year. As remission can only be given from timetabled time the remitted time allocation can only be applied to teaching weeks ' you can't remit from something that isn't there. There is no expectation that any sort of aggregation of time spent on the PAT role out with teaching weeks should be applied.

Q: How does the time allocation relate to part-time students?

A: All part-time students should have a PAT. The remitted time allowance relates to a student FTE therefore this would be applied on a pro-rate basis for part-time students. It is recognised that the definition of a part-time student ranges from a 'dabbler' doing one unit or module only to a cohort of students on a structured programme. There may be a need to refine that recommendation further or provide further guidance. This will be considered and actioned if necessary at the end of this academic year. Meanwhile, we would ask APs to take a pragmatic approach to ensure that the appropriate level of service is both provided and serviced.

Q: Who is responsible for international students i.e. assigning the PATs and also dealing with stuff like the border agency requirements?

A: Each international student will have a HAP and it is the responsibility of that HAP to assign a PAT to those international students just as they would for any other student. Each academic partner will have either a designated individual or department with responsibility for ensuring legislation is complied with and becomes process. They will work with departments and teams within their AP to ensure any such requirements are reinforced. There will be a natural interaction between the PAT and the aforementioned individuals and departments e.g. the PAT may need to flag up poor attendance.

Q: I realise you have provided pro-formas for PATs. How long should we keep the completed documents for?

A: Please comply with the recommended practice within your own college.

Q: How will a ML or PL know who a student's PAT is and how will a PAT know who other PATS are?

A: SITS is the key.The PAT details for all students will be recorded in SITS. UHI records will allow a member of staff to: enter a student's id number to find out who the student's PAT. There will also be a report function to show which PATs have current students attached to them.

Q: Are students able to change the PAT details in SITS?

A: No, that won't be possible.

Q: How will the PAT role be monitored?

A: The implementation of this role will be monitored in a number of ways including auditing and use of the annual quality monitoring process.

For example:

  • Regular reports will be run on a regular basis to ensure the PAT details are being entered in SITS. Omissions will be identified and followed up.
  • The effectiveness of the PAT role may also be evidenced via the annual quality monitoring process.
  • The Student Support Team will be working with PATs to ensure the role is implemented successfully and provide support for the PATs. This will allow issues that arise to be identified and resolved quickly and efficiently.

Q: Who has responsibility for initiating the withdrawal process? The Module Leader (ML), Programme Leader (PL) or PAT?

A: The withdrawal process is detailed in section 16 of the Academic Standards and Quality Regulations. This is supported by the Withdrawal/transfer proforma that must be completed for all students withdrawing from their programme of study. You can see from those documents that both the PAT and the PL have a role in the withdrawal/transfer or suspension process. The role of the ML in this respect would be to flag up concerns e.g. about poor attendance of lack of achievement with the appropriate PAT so that an appropriate course of action may be taken.

Q: Who is responsible for contacting a suspended student before they return?

A: The following guidance is provided by the university:

Returning after a period of suspension

Students approaching the end of a period of suspension will be contacted by UHI Student Records Office asking them to confirm their intentions regarding return to study. Their options will be:

  • to re-enter their original programme (if still available) at an appropriate point;
  • to re-engage with study at UHI but negotiate entry to an alternative programme of study;
  • to request a further period of suspension;
  • to request permanent withdrawal.

If a student does not respond to confirm their intention to return to study, they will be permanently withdrawn by the University.


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. . 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.




Home page

Hide/show contents

Hide / show content menu

Audio to play and description
Previous page

Previous page

Next page

Next page


PDF Version

PDF Version

A PDF version of this resource is available