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Appendix 1 A list of key dates in the academic year for academic advisers from the Mathematics Department

The following is a rough guide provided in the Mathematics Department to help academic advisers support their students. It provides a prompt as to what could be discussed at each of the tutorial meetings.

Induction week: first year students only

  • Tell your students a little about the role of an academic adviser and when they can or should contact you. Also tell them what is the best way to contact you and what times they can come for ad-hoc meetings. Some advisers prefer students to come during office hours, others prefer to keep office hours for teaching related questions and give students more freedom.
  • Discuss course choices for the first year.
  • Ask about their general situation. In particular:
    • Is their housing situation OK?
    • Is their financial situation OK? (No reason to ask for details, just a general enquiry.)
    • Answer any further questions from the students as well as you can.
  • Further small-talk initiated by adviser or student.

Do not forget to approve the course choices via LSE for You!

First weeks of Michaelmas Term: returning students only

  • Ask about the general situation of the student.
  • Discuss the exam results from the end of the previous year. If things didn't go as expected, see if the student has any idea what went wrong and how to avoid this.
  • For students who must re-sit one or more exams, point out that preparation for this is their own responsibility.
  • Check if the student is still happy with their course choice. If necessary, come to an alternative programme and deal with this via LSE for You.
  • For third year students, ask them if they have an idea what to do after graduation (it may be worth mentioning any new MSc programmes at this stage).
  • Further small-talk and questions arising.

Weeks 5/6 of Michaelmas Term: first year students only

  • Ask about general situation.
  • Try to get a feeling as to whether they are settling in, know their timetable and in particular what classes they are in, etc.
  • Check the first few weeks of online class reports, and, if necessary, point out the importance of class attendance and homework submission.
  • Further small-talk and questions arising.

Weeks 8/9/10 of Michaelmas Term: all students

  • Ask about general situation.
  • For first year students, the Mathematics and Statistics Departments gather some first assessments of the students by its class teachers. Check this report for concerns, and if necessary discuss with the student.
  • Check online class reports of all students and discuss if necessary. If there appear to be major problems, point out to the student concerned that they may be barred from sitting exams if you are not satisfied with their attitude towards class attendance, submission of written work, etc.
  • Ask about their plans for the Christmas period.
  • Further small-talk and questions arising.

Around this time of the year, there is often not too much to discuss with second and third year students, so don't worry too much about a no-show of students whose online reports and the like seem to be fine.

Weeks 2/3 of Lent Term: all students

  • Ask about general situation.
  • Discuss last term's class reports in some more detail. In extreme circumstances, a student can be barred from sitting some or all exams. If you feel this could be used to put some pressure on a student, send an email to the departmental tutor with the name of the student. Students with very bad reports who also don't reply to any request to come and see their tutors are prime candidates for being barred. In case you decide to bar a student, you should also set out very clearly to the students under what circumstances this bar will be lifted, and when you will decide on this. Good class attendance and consistent submission of required written work during Lent term should normally be enough.
  • Point out to first and second year students that course choices have to be made towards the end of Lent term. More information will be given to students during the term, but see if they already have questions.
  • Further small-talk and questions arising.

Weeks 8/9 of Lent Term: all students

  • Ask about general situation.
  • Check that class reports are OK; discuss if necessary.
  • See whether students need some advice on how to revise during the Easter break or need advice on exam preparations.
  • For first and second year students, try to finalise a selection of courses for next year.
  • For those students barred from some or all exams, check how they have been doing this term so far. If you feel sufficient progress has been made for the bar to be lifted, inform the departmental tutor. If you're not happy about the progress so far, discuss with the student what needs to be done during the remaining part of the year to have the bar lifted.
  • Further small-talk and questions arising.

Weeks 1/2 of Summer Term: all students

  • Ask about general situation.
  • Discuss last term's class reports in some more detail.
  • See how exam preparations are going. Make sure students know about revision classes and other activities this term.
  • For students who haven't made a course choice for next year yet, urge them to do so as soon as possible. To students who are still not sure about what to choose, point out that in principle all courses are preliminary and that things can be changed until the end of the first couple of weeks of the next academic year.
  • For those students barred from some or all exams, check how they have been doing this term so far. If you feel sufficient progress has been made for the bar to be lifted, inform the departmental tutor. If you see no good reason to lift the bar, inform the departmental tutor with a short explanation of the situation.
  • Ask students how they can be contacted after the exams.
  • Tell students how you can be contacted during and after
    the exams.
  • Further small-talk and questions arising.

 

Apart from the meetings above, usually initiated by the academic adviser (AA), students should have enough opportunities to see their AA if they wish to do so during term time. AAs should also react promptly to emails or other attempts to contact them. Students cannot expect to see their AA at short notice outside term time. But even then AAs should be available now and then, at least via email, to advise their students.  

 

 

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