Ben Walker – elected Vice-Chair of the UK Advising & Tutoring association (UKAT)

Ben Walker Photograph

I was was recently elected as Vice-Chair for the UK Advising and Tutoring association (UKAT) with responsibility for professional development. UKAT is the sectoral voice and leading association for personal tutors and academic advisors.  It seeks to support the advancement of effective personal tutoring and academic advising, a field which has historically been under-researched and under-developed across the sector.

Established four years ago, this is an exciting time for UKAT with a new governance structure in place (of which my role is a part) and several new initiatives underway. I believe that the organisation could be really useful for the UTA and, by extension, MMU’s personal tutors and coordinators of tutoring and advising.  So, I am taking this opportunity to tell you some more about it and how it could benefit us all…

 Who are UKAT?

UKAT is an association of multidisciplinary academic and support professionals dedicated to transforming tutorial and advisory practices with the aim that every higher education student is able to experience inclusiveness, well-being and personal growth, leading them to flourish and succeed. We support the development of staff and students throughout the learning journey by sharing resources, practicing scholarly inquiry, promoting partnership, fostering community, and espousing excellence in personal tutoring and academic advising practice.

What do we do?

Professional Development

UKAT’s professional development committee exists to create an accessible culture of shared professional experience and improve the training, development and everyday practice of tutors and advisors. Members engage in the identification and sharing of good practice aiming to ensure that tutoring and advising makes a valuable contribution to the student experience.


UKAT’s free monthly webinar series, Tutoring Matters, commenced in January 2019 and has been very well received and attended.  It is designed to support all those engaged with personal tutoring and advising, whether that be as a practitioner, leader or in a related support role and also acts as key professional development for those undertaking tutoring and advising roles.  Facilitated by various key professionals associated with UKAT and collaborative in nature, the webinars cover important issues for academic advising.

Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring

UKAT has recently developed a Professional Competency Framework for Advising and Tutoring which defines competencies tutors and advisors should possess and is mapped against UKPSF and National Occupational Standards for Personal Tutoring.  The principles aim to provide a clearer set of guidance on the things that make a difference to making tutoring work, and a set of guidance that is easier for institutions and tutors to see whether or not they are following and achieving them. The framework also serves the purpose of being the basis for the professional recognition of tutors and advisors to raise importance and recognition of the role across the sector with an evidence-based, retrospective application with dialogic assessment.  It is being trialled at one or more HEIs over the next 6 to 12 months.  The planned awards are Recognised Practitioner of Advising (RPA), Recognised Senior Advisor (RSA) and Recognised Leader in Advising (RLA).

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Advising and Tutoring

UKAT has created the UK’s first PGCert in Academic Advising and Tutoring as a collaboration between UKAT and a UK university. This will be offered across the sector as a blended online programme with modules on specific aspects of tutoring and advising including the Foundations of advising and tutoring; Advising theory; Interpersonal relationships; Legal & ethical issues in advising; technology & data in advising; Inclusive advising; Supporting employability; Quality enhancement of advising.  Delegates have early access to a GDPR module which forms part of the legal & ethical issues module.


UKAT’s research development committee exists to champion research and evidence-based scholarly enquiry into tutoring and advising in the UK. It promotes an accessible culture of intellectual curiosity where members engage in purposeful scholarship and research to recognise and explore the value of Personal Tutoring and Academic Advising for the student experience.

Research Mentoring Programme

UKAT offers an intensive 14-month peer mentoring programme designed to promote research into personal tutoring and student success in the context of UK Higher Education. Participants are fully supported in taking research projects all the way from the initial idea, through detailed planning, implementation and dissemination. The programme consists of residential retreats, writing workshops, peer mentoring, support for early-career researchers, webinars, face-to-face meetings to progress the work, and support with dissemination and writing for publication.

How does this relate to MMU?

Hopefully, through the aforementioned activities, you can see how UKAT may benefit the UTA and personal tutoring practice and management in the university in the areas of:

  • continuous professional development;
  • professional competencies;
  • professional recognition and accreditation;
  • continuous research and scholarship opportunities.

In addition, UKAT has established a successful annual conference and is developing further professional learning opportunities including podcasts, international travel grants/study trips and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) being formed in such areas as ‘Advisors But Not Academics’, ‘HE in FE’ and ‘Strategy and Policy’.

Individual membership of UKAT is offered for a small fee and we are currently developing an institutional membership scheme, more information to follow soon.

If you would like to discuss anything regarding UKAT.

Contact Ben on or by phone: 0161-247-1141

More information on UKAT’s work can be found on the UKAT website.






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