Service Level Agreement (SLA) from Student Learning Services (SLS)

SLS have a small team of highly experienced study skills advisors who provide professional expertise, guidance, information and support to students and staff, on all aspects of effective study and learning at University.

The ultimate aim of the service is to enable students to make the most of their academic studies at university, to progress and be successful, and to become independent learners. We work in partnership with academic staff, other support service colleagues and students to facilitate an enjoyable, effective and efficient learning experience.

This SLA includes our service aim, details of what we can offer you, and what we expect of you as a user of the service. This document also outlines what is on offer and the minimum service you can expect under usual circumstances. However, there may be occasions when due to unforeseen circumstances, the level of provision is compromised and we cannot provide the full advertised service. We regularly monitor and evaluate our activities to ensure that wherever possible, and within our resources, we are providing the best possible service.

1. What to expect from the Student Services Hub

  • Advice on what services SLS can, and cannot, provide
  • Signpost the student to the most appropriate source of learning support
  • Offer information on times/locations of SLS provision and, as appropriate, to make referrals.

2. What to expect from Student Learning Services

  • Advice on academic skills relevant to studying at University
  • Partnership working with students to consolidate their previous learning and develop new study strategies
  • Advice on action plans and learning strategies to improve grades
  • Practical solutions if students feel overwhelmed by assignment work
  • Helping students gain confidence in the transition to Higher Education
  • Work with staff to embed academic skills in the curriculum

SLS are unable to give tutorial support around module content.

SLS do not offer ongoing or sustained support to students with medium to long-term difficulties which impact on learning.  In these circumstances, learning support may be provided by the Access and Inclusion Service. Please contact the Student Hub for details. 

3. SLS offer the following:

Information and online resources: 

  • An up-to-date website with access to information about the service
  • A range of resources and guidance made available to all students via the SLS Canvas site
  • Access to information and relevant news via the portal, emails, plasma screens and noticeboards, Twitter and through Faculty Academic Skills Advisors.

Workshops: 

SLS offer a wide range of basic study skills workshops (as part of the university-wide Stirling Essentials workshops). Details can be found on the SLS web site, the Workshop SharePoint site and on plasma screens around the University.  Workshops are free and are available to all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. These are generic study skills workshops which are good for revising basic study skills and giving students a boost in their academic work.  There are always opportunities to ask questions. In addition, SLS also offer a suite of orientation and language workshops designed for students whose first language is not English. All workshops are and places should be booked via the study skills workshops SharePoint site.  

One hour ‘Chat with a Tutor’ tutorials:

SLS offer a mixture of virtual and face-to-face 1 hour tutorials. Students can book appointments at any point in their academic career to discuss any aspect of their academic studies. All students are welcome.  To make an appointment, students can email sls@stir.ac.uk  Please let us know what you want an appointment about and, if appropriate, any important assignment deadlines.  If the tutorial is about a particular assignment, we will ask you to email work to us  at least 24 hours in advance of your appointment.  You can book a tutorial as far in advance as you wish but students can only book one appointment at a time.

Once you have an agreed date and time for your tutorial, you will be sent details of where to meet for an on-campus tutorial or you will be sent a Teams meeting link for a virtual appointment.

SLS endeavour to respond to SLS emails within a day. However, at busy times and during vacations, the waiting time may be extended to three working days. Appointments are booked on a priority basis and most students are seen within 5 working days. However, during times of high demand, students may have to wait up to 2 weeks (10 working day) before meeting with a tutor.

4. In the ‘Chat with a tutor’ tutorials, SLS CAN

  • Answer any questions about studying at university
  • Talk about any specific study issues or learning strategies
  • Discuss issues around reading, writing, referencing and critical thinking
  • Help a student start an assignment
  • Check the assignment is focused on the task
  • Give some generic feedback on an assignment prior to submission
  • Support a student when completing a resubmission
  • Help a student to understand assignment feedback
  • Discuss issues around academic misconduct and plagiarism 
  • Discuss other support services who may be able to help

In the drop-in sessions, SLS CANNOT 

  • Always guarantee the same tutor
  • Just check a whole assignment
  • Advise on content or discipline specific issues
  • Give feedback on every aspect which may need attention
  • Edit or proof-read work
  • Check grammar and spelling
  • Teach English language
  • Comment on grades
  • Read assignments and feedback on mobile phones
  • Guarantee a pass grade
  • Give ongoing, regular support for learning difficulties (this is provided by the Access and Inclusion Service)
  • Provide counselling or support for mental health difficulties
  • Correspond via Teams. Please use email for all communications with SLS

5. What to expect when meeting with an SLS tutor. We will…

  • Be approachable, supportive and non-judgmental
  • Treat you with dignity, respect and courtesy
  • Work with you to explore learning strategies and ways of working which will improve the learning experience
  • Signpost you to helpful academic resources
  • Work with you to identify academic challenges and priorities, and advise accordingly
  • If appropriate, refer you to other university services, relevant staff or external organisations
  • Keep to allocated time
  • Keep enquiries and service feedback confidential (subject to the SLS statement on confidentiality and data sharing)

Information that you provide and a basic record on the engagement will be stored securely within the SLS Management Information System. We will only share this information with colleagues outwith SLS if we have your permission, or if we are required to in a crisis situation.

Information about our confidentiality and data sharing policy is available on the SLS web page.

6. What we expect from you

  • To be respectful and courteous to staff and other students
  • To check details of the service provision and dates/times on the SLS website or the SLS Canvas site
  • To arrive at the tutorials/workshops ready with questions or issues you wish to discuss
  • To clarify anything you are unsure about in the tutorial or workshop
  • To attend any appointments which you make with the service. If you are unable to make an appointment, to inform us as soon as it is possible
  • To work in partnership with staff to find solutions to academic challenges
  • To take responsibility for any final changes to assessments you make. Staff can only make suggestions about your work, and implementation is up to you
  • To be clear about what SLS are able to help you with and what we are unable to help you with. To have realistic expectations about the level of support staff can provide in the allocated time
  • If requested, to send work in advance
  • If appropriate, to inform SLS staff if you are receiving learning support from other sources within the university

7. Access to the service

Details of routes to the university and disabled access

Details on car parking

Maps of the campus

8. SLS are responsible for:

  • Providing staff who have expertise in academic skills support and student learning
  • Ensuring SLS staff participate in CPD and remain in good academic standing
  • When appropriate, ensure there is a private space to discuss academic issues
  • Prioritising workloads to ensure that the service is as accessible, fair and efficient as possible, within the resources available
  • Balancing the needs of different student cohorts and making decisions about priorities
  • Advertising services appropriately
  • Working within relevant sector guidelines and legislation

9. Monitoring Success

SLS will monitor our performance against this Service Level Agreement using: 

  • SLS surveys
  • SLS Management Information System
  • Student feedback through emails

Student evaluations are posted onto the SLS VLE by August 1st of each year.

10. Complaints

If there are any complaints about this service, in the first instance please contact the Head of Student Learning Services (sls@stir.ac.uk) or Lynn Maher (Advocacy and Inclusion Co-ordinator, Stirling Students’ Union - lynn.maher@stir.ac.uk). The University of Stirling complaints procedure is available on our website.

11. More information:

Student Learning Services
sls@stir.ac.uk

Student Learning Services webpages

OR

The Student Hub ask@stir.ac.uk

The Student Hub accessed via the ground floor of the Atrium (Queens Court entrance of Cottrell Building)

01786 466022
Student Support Services webpages