What do I talk about at the initial meeting with new students?

Talk about the role of the personal tutor, what you can help with and what you cannot, and how to contact you. Share the Communications Charter with students.

  • Introduce yourself with a brief description of your teaching and research interests. Emphasise that your students should be proud of their achievements in getting to university, and that they are now part of the University of Stirling community. Mention the Students' Union and what it offers e.g. clubs and societies (including subject-specific ones) and various forms of student support.
  • Ask students to introduce themselves to each other to help form connections. It would be useful to ask students to identify if they commute/live in halls etc. Commuting students find it particularly hard to make connections and often drop out due to this.
  • At the meeting mention that anyone who feels they may need additional support for disabilities or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia can contact Access & Inclusion  for assessment of needs.
  • Orientate the students to ensure they understand how their timetable works and the class room codes, where to find divisional administrative staff, how to access Canvas, sign-up for tutorials and logistical issues they might have.
  • Talk about common anxieties that might occur: “it’s OK for it not to be OK” all of the time and where they can get help. This can include formal routes but also flatmates; friends from home; family; Students’ Union etc.
  • For academic support ,signpost students to Student Learning Services, their module tutor guidance and feedback sessions and STEER mentors through the Student’s Union.
  • Talk about expectations: attendance, submission of work, being prepared for classes, reading, using feedback and guidance sessions to get help and using module/programme information to answer their questions and find contact details.
  • Talk about expectations of behaviour towards staff and other students.
  • Discuss workload expectation. SCQF 20 credits requires 200 hours of work etc. Emphasise the relationship between engagement and attainment.
  • Highlight that teaching rooms are available to use as study spaces when there is no teaching going on in them, and that these spaces can often be quieter than the library.
  • Inevitably some students will not like their module choices/programme and we would rather they change programme or module than leave university. Talk through with them how they can change their programme/modules. They can change module for two weeks of the semester by following the link on their portal to 'Change your module selection'.
  • Talk about the role of the personal tutor, what you can help with and what you cannot, and how to contact you. Share the Communications Charter with students.