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Universsity of Stratthclyde

Sta aff H Han ndbo ook k 2012




Dear Personal Development Adviser,

Introduction to Personal Development Planning .................................................. 2

You are involved in one of the most important aspects of student development. As a PDA you may be assigned one or more students, depending on your departmental/school/faculty policy. You will assist them in reflecting upon their performance and achievement and planning their educational and career development. You are not alone in this task and a team of colleagues from the Careers Service, Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement and Learning Technology Enhancement will play a supporting role. The many personal development activities which are already embedded within the classes in your department/school should be acknowledged also. There are a number of positive outcomes for staff involved in this process, as detailed later in this handbook. One of the most rewarding is observing students take increasing responsibility for their personal development and becoming graduates who are enquiring, engaged, enterprising and ethical, all the attributes necessary for a professional fit for the 21st Century.

Benefits of the Personal Development Programme .............................................. 3 PDA Role Responsibilities ....................... 3 Planning and Action Plans ................... 3 Reflection and Action Plan Reviews .... 5 Recording and the Student Log ........... 5 Peer Mentoring .................................... 6 PDA Meetings ...................................... 6 Year Meeting Guidelines...................... 8 Appendix 1 - Advice for Staff on Personal Development Advising ............................. 9 Appendix 2 - Example Action Plan Form11 Appendix 3 - Example Action Plan Review Form ...................................................... 13  Appendix 4 – Recommended Activity Framework ............................................ 14 


Faculty of Engineering Avril Thompson – Learning and Teaching Manager Andrew McLaren Academic



Phil Sayer – Vice Dean Academic Faculty of Science Debbie Willison Champion




Introduction to Personal Development Planning Personal development programmes have existed in many different forms across the University for several years, and are a requirement of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education in Scotland for all Scottish universities. The new personal development programme for engineering students aims to formalise personal development activities across all departments in the faculty and lay out minimum requirements for the provision of support and feedback for students with respect to personal development activities and student-generated materials. Core expectations in this programme for the students will be: • •

Students are expected to take increasing levels of responsibility for their own personal development and learning as they progress through their course of study; Students are expected to be actively involved in their peers’ development as well as their own.

Following the largely unsuccessful introduction of a structured PDP programme last year, in part due to external influencing factors, the programme has been reworked this year. Having previously been rolled out to first years, the idea this year is that the programme will be kept for the current 2nd years and also introduced to the new 1st years, with a gradual roll out to higher year groups in the future. This does not mean that PDP activities will not be taking place for 3rd – 5th years this year, just that there will not be a framework in place this year, meaning that as a PDA you are just responsible for delivering the programme to 1st and 2nd years for the time being. A recommended framework of activities for all year groups is shown in Appendix 4. In practice, personal development in the Faculty of Engineering takes the form of a cyclic process of planning, doing, recording and reflecting undertaken by students, which aims to encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning and development. Students generate or initiate the inputs and outputs at each stage of the process, giving them ownership over their development and progress. Input has come from many sources, including the Careers Service, departmental societies, industrial partners and alumni – the process relates to development in all aspects of a student’s life: Personal Life - Extracurricular activities -Participation in University societies and sport clubs -Personal issues such as finance and accommodation

Academic Life - Exam performance - Coursework - Study skills advice

Professional Life - Institution Membership - Work experience and placements - Career applications and interviews - Key skills audits - Industry presentations and field trips - Erasmus exchanges


Benefits of the Personal Development Programme The QAA has identified a number of benefits for students who follow a structured, supported process for personal development during their time at university. Students will Become effective, independent and personal learners Understand how they are learning and how this understanding improves their skills for study and career management Articulate personal goals and evaluate progress

Staff will Have a clearer understanding of your students strengths, weaknesses and aspirations so you can confidently provide them with useful advice Help students become independent learners who can take initiative and attempt to find answers for themselves

Develop a positive attitude to lifelong learning

Help to eliminate the 4th/5th year rush for help with job applications and CVs by providing advice throughout university

Be able to provide evidence to support job interviews and applications

Be able to write meaningful references for employment if requested

Be better prepared for Continuous Personal Development, which is a requirement for Chartered status in industry

Have the opportunity to shape the future of PDP

Have a clearly defined idea of who they are and where they want to go

Be contributing to your own personal development

PDA Role Responsibilities The PDA has the responsibility to encourage the students to engage with all aspects of personal development, including: • • • • •

Planning and Action Plans Reflection and Action Plan Reviews Student Log PDA meetings Peer Mentoring

This is also a PDA’s Role Responsibility to arrange meetings with their students and guide them through Personal Development tasks and any Personal Development problems they may have.

Planning and Action Plans In first year students should be introduced to the concept of planning by their PDA. A tool known as the Action Plan Form (Appendix 2) has been developed to help students from first to third year learn how to effectively and efficiently plan their development. This is 3   

compulsory for all students to use this form to create yearly Action Plans during first to third year. An example copy of this form can be found in Appendix two and blank forms are available online. Creating an action plan involves 4 steps which are demonstrated in Figure 1. When creating their Action Plan, students must consider both their long- and short-term goals. Crucially, these goals must be realistic and achievable. PDAs may wish to offer advice on setting realistic goals using SMART criteria, shown below, a widely-used tool in objectivesetting. S


M Measurable







Set clear goals, lay out exactly what you want to achieve avoid vague language Set goals which have some measure of success- otherwise it becomes impossible to achieve them Set goals which are realistic, an attainable goal may stretch an individual, but it is not so extreme as to become meaningless Set goals that are worthwhile, the goal setter must actually be willing to enthusiastically work towards the achievement of the goal You must give goals a time frame and a target date in order to focus your efforts and avoid becoming distracted Figure 1

As a PDA, you must be prepared to discuss a student’s Action Plan at meetings, as well as offer assistance and advice in the development of the plan scheduled by mutual convenience. In the case of first years, PDAs must help the student to develop a basic Action Plan during their first meeting, in order to explain the purpose of the plan and ensure that the student understands the planning process. Students may wish to create Action Plans for other elements of their life in addition to their yearly plan, e.g. the student may wish to create an Action Plan for a particular project they are working on within one of their classes. The PDA is not obliged to give feedback on such plans, but may wish to if requested by the student. After third year students are free to continue to use the Action Plan and Reflection forms for planning if they wish, though it is expected that they will develop their own planning and reflection methods/tools based upon what they have learned from using these forms. Although advisable, senior students are not obliged to discuss their plans with their PDA if they do not wish to; however, PDAs should at the very least ask the student whether they have been planning, what they have been planning for and what types of methods/tools they have been using.  


Reflection and Action Plan Reviews Another concept first year students should be introduced to is reflection. As with planning, a tool has been developed to help junior students learn how to reflect in a useful, meaningful manner. This tool is known as the Action Plan Review Form. An example of this form can be found in Appendix 3 with a blank copy available online. The four steps of reflection are shown in Figure 2. Reflections should be performed initially on events such as submitting an assignment or receiving feedback. As the student becomes used to reflective thinking they should be encouraged to carry out shorter reflections on a more regular basis. These reflections may relate to absolutely any experience that the student has. These may be personal in nature and as such, no student is obliged to share these with their PDA if they do not wish to. Reflections should be collected by the student over a period of time by the student through their Student Log. The Action Plan Review Form can be used to summarise the important reflections relating to the Action Plan for use in PDA meetings. Figure 2 

Recording and the Student Log The concept of a Student Log is introduced to students at the very beginning of their course, and it is intended that it will become an integral part of the student’s life as they progress through university. In this case the Student Log will be used to enable student to record an event that have improved their skills and/or affected their Personal Development. The point that should also be noted is that getting into routine of keeping the log book from the start of university career will help students in their future years, in tasks such as keeping log book for a project and answering competency questions when applying for a job. Possible log formats include: Paper-based -Small A6-A4 notepad, notebook or diary

Mobile Phone App -ColourNote -EverNote

Audio -Dictaphone -Podcast

Video -Video Diary -Youtube Channel

Electronic - Text based such as Microsoft Word or Notepad -Online blogs such as ‘Blogger’ or ‘Blogspot’ -Personal web folios such as ‘Mahara’

Students can use whatever format feels most comfortable to them however it should be noted that the student may need to present these reflective entries to their PDA at some point so they must consider how accessible the format is.


Peer Mentoring Students from the third, fourth and fifth year have the opportunity to become Peer Mentors for first and second year’s students. Although it is the responsibility of the PD Champion to co-ordinate the recruitment of these mentors within the department, PDAs should ensure that their senior students are aware of this opportunity and what the role entails. A role of a Peer Mentor will be assigned to the group of students a PDA advises. The Peer Mentor provides a link for the student and provides informal advice on university life from a student’s perspective. Mentors are encouraged to attend the first group PDA meeting and students should be encouraged to contact their mentors whenever they need informal advice. The PDA should also ensure that any student interested in becoming a Peer Mentor is aware that they must contact the department’s PD Champion in order to formally ‘apply’ for the role.

PDA Meetings The PDA meetings are a crucial element of a student’s personal development, and form the backbone of the whole PD programme. In order for meetings to be consistent and useful, a set of guidelines has been developed which provides suggested topics that PDAs may wish to discuss with students at each meeting. These guidelines are provided on the next page and there is room for customisation and variation within them, to account for the differing needs of individual students. However, the underlying principle behind the meetings should remain the same for all students: they should be encouraged to take the initiative and take control of their own development. Please note that these guidelines state only the minimum number of compulsory meetings that must be held with students each year. More meetings can be held if deemed necessary by the PDA or requested by the student. The following guidelines are provided for the 1st and 2nd year only, however the following topics can be tailored for following years to suit PDA preference and student requirements. It is recommended the first PDA meeting is a group meeting with roughly 4 students the PDA is advising. The peer mentor should also attend if available. Appendix 1 shows questions that may be asked by a student and the appropriate source of information to refer them to in these cases. It is also recommended that students get at least 4 weeks gap between their Action Plan meeting and Action Plan Review meeting.

Activity Timeline A rough timeline of the activities involved in the PDP programme for 1st and 2nd years is shown on the next page. The activities highlighted in red are the ones that you as a PDA are responsible for delivering while the rest are activities that are part of the programme but you do not have any direct contribution towards. Each meeting should last between 20 and 30 minutes and the estimated total time commitment as a PDA this year is approximately 9 hours. 6   

Semester 1 st

2nd Year

1 Year PDP introduction presentation Icebreaker activity

PDP introduction presentation 1‐4

Meeting your Peer Mentor

Meeting your Peer Mentor PDA group meeting

Mid semester meeting with Peer Mentor

Individual PDA meeting 1 – Action Plan


Careers Service presentation

Mid semester meeting with Peer Mentor Careers Service presentation

Study skills session

Introduction to study abroad


Individual PDA meeting 1 – Action Plan

Semester 2


Individual PDA meeting 2 – Action Plan Review Mid semester meeting with Peer Mentor


Mid semester meeting with Peer Mentor  

Individual PDA meeting 2 – Action Plan Review



Year Meeting Guidelines Timings Meeting 1 Weeks 34 of semester 1

Meeting 2 Within weeks 1112 of semester 1 or weeks 1-3 of semester 2 Meeting 3 Within weeks 5-9 of semester 2

Meeting Inputs Student PDA Think about Verbal discussion first about impression students of transition to university university and what and what they hope they hoping to achieve to achieve during first during their year and first year university and career. university career. Introduction to their first year. Action plan Assistance completed in any part to students of an Action best ability. Plan the student is not clear about.

Action Plan Review form completed to students best ability.

Discussion of an Action Plan Review and assistance where required.

Suggested points of discussion • • • • • • •

• •

Outcome for student

What are your initial impressions of university? What do you hope to achieve during this year? Do you have any worries or concerns? Have a discussion with student about their views of and feelings about PD – record this discussion in note form and retain for next meeting introduction to PD and how it fits into course Introduce them to the concepts of reflection & planning and the tools provided (Action Plans & Action Plan Reviews) Help student develop a basic yearly Action Plan, identifying where they are now, where they want to be by the end of the year and how they intent to get there, with input from the core elements; academic, personal and social and professional. Introduce students to Student Log

• •

Look over student’s Action Plan, assist them with any difficulties they may have, and make sure that their plan is realistic.

• •

• • • •

• • •

What was student’s goal? How does student feels they have done in achieving their goal? What is their next step?

• • •

Developing a relationship with PDA Student gains better understanding of the PD programme. Student begins to think about their own development. Student is clear what is expected in relation to the Action Plan Review and its submission. Student is clear on what their Student Log should be. Agreed date for next meeting

Basic Action Plan identified for the year. Student has something to work towards for the next meeting. Agreed date for next meeting.

Ensures student is on the right track Ensures the student is thinking about PD for the next year Allows the student to see how they have progressed during first year and what they should do


Appendix 1‐ Advice for Staff on Personal Development Advising - Who should I refer students with problems to? PDA advisor Course Director PDA Advisor Year Advisor Course Director PDA Advisor Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement Tel: 548 4064

10. I want to change my programmeme 11. I want to take a year out/ suspend studies

PDA advisor Course Director PDA advisor Course Director

12. I’m very worried about exams

4. I think I may be dyslexic

Disability Service

13. I declared that I had a disability but nobody seems to be prepared to help me

5. I’m in financial trouble

Student Finance Officer Accommodation Office Student Finance Officer May be able to deal with this yourself Course Director Student Health Service Student Advice and Counselling Service

14. I have nowhere to live/ want to move 15. I’m being bullied by other students/ a tutor

PDA advisor Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service Departmental Disability Officer Check that information has been uploaded onto PEGASUS, if not chase up Disability Service Accommodation Office Dignity and Respect Adviser

Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service

18. I’ve split up from my boyfriend/ girlfriend

1. I think I want to leave 2. I want to change my module choice 3. I’m not coping with my workload

6. A housemate has left and we can’t afford accommodation

7. I’ve failed some/all of my modules 8. My friend/ close relative is seriously ill

9. My parents are divorcing

16. I’m being sexually harassed by another student/ one of my tutors 17. My friend/ close relative has just died

Dignity and Respect Adviser Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service


19. I’m really homesick

20. My visa is running out

Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service International Student Adviser

21. My childcare arrangements have fallen through

Student Finance Officer

22. I’ve been mugged/ assaulted/ burgled

Police Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service Dignity and Respect Officer

30. I’ve been raped

24. I’ve been too ill to attend or do academic work

Policy on Mitigating Circumstances

25. You receive a phone call from a student’s parent who is worried their child is suicidal

Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service Explain the limits of the personal development advising scheme Learning and Technology Enhancement may be able to help

32. You receive a phone call from a student’s parent who wants to know about their child’s academic progress 33. A student is seriously worried about another student’s state of mind

23. I’m being racially/ religiously harassed

26. A student comes to see you every week to ask you to look at his/her work

27. I feel so depressed all the time

28. My only friends are from my own country 29. I have a serious complaint about the teaching

31. My part-time job leaves me too tired to do academic work

34. A student of the opposite sex starts to reveal some personal problems

Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service International Student Adviser Policy and Procedure for Dealing with Student Complaints Head of Department Police Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service Student Finance Officer Careers Service Tel: 548 4320 Data Protection Implications

Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service Student Advice and Counselling Service Ask Nightline Student Service


Appen ndix 2‐ Ex xample A Action Plan Form 1. Where am I now w? - Do I have any academic difficulties?

Just now n I thinkk I am quite e confidentt but I strug ggle with prese entations and tend to get low marks m at the ese

- Rate the t following g skills from m 1-5, where e 1 is a wea akest in and d 5 is a strongest: Self-Aw wareness Exploriing and creating opportunities Negotia ating Presen ntation Commu unication Academ mic Writing g Teamw work Leaderrship Plannin ng and Organising

4 4 2 1 2 3 4 3 2

2. Where do I wan nt to be? -What sskills need improvemen nt? -Why do o I feel thosse skills are e important? ?

Enth husiasm Ana alytical thin nking and Problem Solv ving Selff-Confidenc ce Inno ovation Sub bject Knowledge Res search Res sponsibility y Refllective Thin nking Pos sitive Reacttion to fe eedback

5 3 4 3 4 3 5 4 4

Specific Measurabl S M e Attaina able Relevvant Tim me-bound

I wantt to be able e to be able e to get a 65% 6 or abo ove mark for f my nex xt presentation by the en nd of Seme ester 2. Be eing better at presenttations will increase my m confide ence and brring up my y average grades. g I’m alsso not grea at at organ nising myse elf which affects my ability a to sttudy. I wan nt to becom me better organised o in terms off my class notes and time-keep ping

3. How will I get there?


- What are the step ps I should take to achieve my goals?

I coulld watch so ome examples of goo od presenttations and ssee how pe eople act, tthen try to copy their actions. I will also practice more but in front off people lik ke my flatma ates I could use the sstudy skills s informatio on on the PDP page. I will make a stu udy plan be efore the exams e starrt this year and a I will stick s to it. I will researrch the bes st way to make e study plans so that I am mostt likely to sttick to it.

4. When will I get there? - When do I want to have achieved my go oals?

I have e a presen ntation in w week 10 so I should have h watch hed and pra acticed prese entations by b week 9. I should make m a stud dy plan by week 8 wh hich will giv ve me att least 1 month m to stu udy for exa ams.


Appen ndix 3‐ Ex xample A Action Plan Revie ew Form What did d I do? 1. What was the goal tha at I set for myself? m Th he goal I set for myselff to be able e to be able e to get a

65 5% or abovve mark for my next presentatio p on by the end e off Semesterr 2

2. Rate the fo ollowing statements fro om 1 to 5, where w 1 is fo or strrongly disag gree and 5 is for strong gly agree:  From my last PD DA meetin ng I have reached r my go oal. The stteps I set were w speciffic. The stteps I set were w measu urable.




The steps I set s for werre re elevant to want w I wantted to o achieve. The steps I set s were timebound. I was w aware of sources s of he elp that we ere available to o help me to t reach my y goal.

5 5



What Have H I learn nt? 3. Whatt positive th hings have I done? What mistakess did I make e? 4. Whatt do I have to improve in my next Action Plan n?

I feel like the pre esentation I gave in Week W 10 was w much better than n before be ecause I diidn’t stutter as much as usua al. My tutor said my eye e contac ct can still get bette er, so I wan nt to impro ove this nex xt. I’m strruggling to keep to my m study pla an but I think it’s bec cause I ha ave put dow wn such large chunks s of time fo or studying g, maybe iff I break it down d into half ho our times I’’ll study be etter. I think I’d like to look at rep port writing next


Appen ndix 4 – R Recommended Acctivity Frrameworrk

Firrst Year  

Introduction to Personal Me eeting with Peer P Mentors C Career Servvice

3 PDA meetings



P Icebreak PD ker Activity P PDA meetings

Stud dy Skills Session

Sec cond Year Y

Me eeting with Peer P Mentors

2 PDA meeting

Introduction to Personal

Career Services

Industry Presen ntation

PDA meetin ng

Indu ustry Presen ntation

Intro oduction to study abroad

1 PDA meeting

Thiird Yea ar

P PDA meetin ngs

Career C Serv vice Contact Career Fa air

Fou urth an nd Fifth h Indu ustry Presen ntation

P PDA meetin ng

Op ptional 1 PDA eeting Me

Career C Serv vice Contact Career Fa air

Gala Eve ent or simila ar


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