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Staff Development

Personal Advisers FAQs

  • I have emailed all my advisees and introduced myself as their personal adviser but some have not replied. What should I do?

    You should send a reminder two weeks later and at the start of the following term. While it is the responsibility of the student to attend meetings with their personal adviser you may need to remind some students of the benefits of these meetings.

  • Where can I find information on the support services available to students at SOAS?

    Go to the ‘Support Services at SOAS’ pages: Support Services

  • How often should I arrange to see my students?

    All students will have different needs. Some will choose to see you only once while others will need your advice more often. At your first meeting early in the academic session you should discuss the level of support you are able to provide, but an invitation to at least one meeting per term should be offered. Regular contact (which may be by e-mail) should be maintained with all advisees.

    Advisees should have access to their personal advisers if and when the need for a consultation arises and provided that the meeting is requested at reasonable notice. Additional meetings may also take place at the instigation of the adviser. It is the responsibility of the student to attend meetings with their adviser.

  • What do I do if a student asks me to keep information confidential?

    You might need to speak to your Head of Department or Student Services, for instance. You should not promise to keep anything confidential and may need to make a judgement about what is in the student's best interests.

    As a personal adviser you are not obliged to keep confidentiality in the way that a doctor or counsellor would be. If you need to share information, explain to the student who you might need to talk to and why you might need to do this. In the first instance you may be able to discuss any cases of concern anonymously (e.g. as a hypothetical case) in order to get advice on the action to be taken.

    You should also remember that all personal information held is subject to the Data Protection Act. Under the terms of the act individuals can gain access to information held about them. Staff should be aware of their legal responsibilities regarding data protection.