Evaluating Personal Academic Advisers’ Support Strategies for First-year Events Management Students

Morady, Farhang (2007) Evaluating Personal Academic Advisers’ Support Strategies for First-year Events Management Students. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 4 (2). pp. 18-25. ISSN 1740-5106


The current drive to widen participation and associated changes in the number and diversity of students have made pastoral support more important than ever in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). By 2005 there were over 2.3 million students in HEIs, including many who have not been through a traditional educational path (HESA website). In 1960 only 7% of 18-19 year olds went to university whereas the current figure now stands at around 42% (HEFCE 2007). The government target for 2010 states that 50% of youths aged between18-30 should be in HEIs. At London Metropolitan University (LondonMet) the number of students is now approaching 35,000 with 7,000 of these international students. Analysis of the entry qualifications for first-degree students in 2004-05 indicates that only 30% entered with traditional A-levels or equivalent, compared with 67% in other higher education institutions in England (London Metropolitan University, 2007, p.72). With widening participation HEIs must confront how to address issues arising from these transformations and ensure that students have adequate support to cope with the demands of academic study, to progress and complete their degree.

Pastoral care may take different forms; this paper refers to the Personal Academic Adviser (PAA) system as it is used in London Metropolitan University. It is an attempt to evaluate the support strategies provided by Personal Academic Advisers (PAAs), based on my initial experience in the role of PAA to first-year Events Management students in Business School. It focuses on my role and the contribution of a PAA to the students’ learning development, their needs and wants. Finally, some suggestions are provided as to what needs to be done to improve the quality of the PAA scheme, particularly the relationship between the staff, students and institution.

The data for this paper draws on students’ reflective logs from the Higher Education Orientation (HEO) module on which I taught in both semester 1 and 2 of 2005/06. Being a PAA coordinator as well as being responsible for 250 students in Events Management (on single and joint courses), I have documented whenever I met the students and their emails have been logged. Questionnaires were circulated at the end of the year; 55 out of 120 were filled in and returned.

InvestigationsInUniversityTeachingAndLearning v4n2 p18-25.pdf - Published Version

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