Communication is an extremely important element of your relation to the department - we need reliable means of contacting you and you need to know how and when to contact us. There are four main methods of communication: Emails, Noticeboards, Pigeonholes, Office Hours.
Noticeboards - Module information, timetable and, at the appropriate times, lists of essay titles are displayed on noticeboards in the corridor in front of the departmental office (A0.13). There is one board for each year and a general one with information concerning all BA students. Keep your eyes open: information soon gets out of date. Tutors may display notices on these boards concerning your modules.
Student pigeonholes – These are also situated in the corridor in front of the departmental office (A0.13). Post is delivered to these each day - not just personal letters but university communications, for instance from the library and from your tutors. Get into the habit of checking your pigeonhole regularly.
For matters affecting large groups, notices are posted on the boards opposite the pigeonholes, on the noticeboard in A1.23, or notes are put in the student pigeonholes.
Email - All staff will use email as an essential mode of communication with students; for example, to alert them to additional module information. It is imperative that you check the Warwick email account which the university provides you with regularly. There will be no allowances made for students who do not check their Warwick emails regularly, and the consequences of failing to act on information or requests sent by email could be serious.
Website – We use the website to advertise departmental events, and to give information about our courses/modules.
There will also be times when you will need to make contact with your academic tutors, or personal tutor (for the role of the personal tutor, see below). The most important form of this contact, and generally the most desirable, is face to face meetings. The simplest way of seeing your tutors is in office hours, and all tutors regularly post a signup list on the board by their rooms indicating when they will be available. If you have an unavoidable clash and therefore cannot make any of the times available you should email your tutor or leave them a note asking for an appointment and indicating how best to contact you.
Staff pigeonholes: all tutors have pigeonholes in the departmental office where notes can be left for them.
Email: individual tutors have various views as to whether they wish to be contacted in this way. This will need to be negotiated on a one-to-one basis: ask your tutor about it, or see if there is an indication of their view posted on their office door or on module hand-outs.
When emailing tutors bear in mind the following:
Emails are sometimes printed out and placed in student files. If you do not want an email to be filed, indicate this by putting the word “confidential” in the subject box.
Please be respectful of staff time and do not send copies of the same query by email to several members of staff.
Staff in the department will not answer queries about examinations by email. If you have such a query, make an appointment to see the member of staff in charge of the module.
The department will not send out examination results by email, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Telephone calls: we will be asking you to fill in a form giving your telephone number and your mobile number. However, normally we would not expect to telephone you, or for you to telephone us, except in an emergency.
Do not expect staff to be necessarily available on a drop-in basis. In an emergency, it might be advisable to try and get an appointment through the departmental administrator.
Departmental registration form: you will fill in one of these forms at the beginning of term. Please remember to keep the information updated; any change of details to be given to the departmental administrator.
Every student is assigned a personal tutor. The list of personal tutors is displayed on the notice board by the pigeonholes. Personal Tutors are academic members of staff based in academic departments, assigned to each student on arrival at Warwick. The role of a personal tutor is to provide academic advice to personal tutees on their academic and personal development including feedback on their academic progress; to give students help and advice about pastoral/non-academic matters and signpost students to Student Support Services for further professional assistance; and to assist students with induction into university life. Personal tutors are the first point of contact for help with concerns about academic progress; study problems; enquiries about course changes; general concerns about university life; and financial issues. The department also has a Senior Tutor with whom students can also discuss issues. On occasion your personal tutor may refer you to the Senior Tutor.
The Department’s Senior Tutor in 2014/15 is Ed Gallafent. He has overall responsibility for the operation of the personal tutor system in the Department. You should consult him if you have queries about how the personal tutor system works, or if for any reason you wish to change the personal tutor assigned to you (you have the right to make such a request). He also consults with the University Senior Tutor, Stephen Lamb, regarding sources of help and support for students outside their academic department.
You must contact Ed Gallafent if you need to apply for an extension to a deadline for an assessed essay in Film Studies. In his absence, the head of department, Alastair Phillips, can also grant extensions. Your personal tutor (and module tutors) can support such requests, but cannot grant extensions.
Your personal tutor can be consulted on academic or personal matters, and may represent you at a formal assembly (such as the board of examiners). He or she has the right to give testimony on your behalf in disciplinary cases and is regularly consulted by both administrators and academic staff on matters that may concern you. You would normally expect to use your personal tutor as a referee both while at university (for housing and part-time work for instance) and after you leave. It is therefore important that you get to know each other.
Your personal tutor will arrange certain formal meetings with you, at least once per term:
(i) There will be a meeting around the beginning of the Autumn Term to meet your personal tutor (1st years) or to catch up after the summer.
(ii) Your personal tutor will expect to see you within the first three weeks of the Spring Term to discuss the content of progress reports written by your module tutors in the Autumn Term.
(iii) Your personal tutor will also expect to see you within the first three weeks of the Summer Term to discuss Spring Term progress reports and (for 1st and 2nd years) option choices for the following year.
1st and 3rd year students will also be expected to meet with their personal tutors in week 10 of the Summer Term to receive and discuss a full breakdown of their exam results. Please make sure you respond to all requests to see your personal tutor; failure to attend meeting (i), (ii) or (iii) will incur one or more Missed Monitoring Points (see section 4).
You are welcome to consult your personal tutor at any other time in the academic year by making an appointment. Students may sign up to see any staff member (not just their personal tutor) in office hours. It is essential that you inform your personal tutor of any extenuating circumstances affecting your ability to attend and study. Extenuating or mitigating circumstances are those events which have had a detrimental effect on your study, to the point that it is in your interest to draw the department’s attention to them and ask for them to be considered in mitigation of poor performance. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) illness, both bodily and emotional; the severe illness or death of a close family member; a shocking or traumatic personal experience. In addition, sudden, unexpected changes in family circumstances might affect your ability to make academic progress as a consequence of their demonstrable emotional impact upon you, and may also be considered as mitigation.
We aware that in some cultures it is considered shameful or embarrassing to disclose the details of these kinds of circumstances to those outside one’s family. This is not the case in the prevailing UK culture and you should be aware that the department and the University are fully supportive of students in difficult circumstances and want to assist if at all possible. If you feel inhibited from talking to a tutor or other member of staff in the first instance, you may also consider talking to a member of your SSLC (see section below), the Students’ Union, or a counsellor for initial, informal advice.
Clearly, though, in order for your circumstances to be considered as mitigating by the department, they must be conveyed formally to someone in the department (a personal tutor, the Senior Tutor, Director of Undergraduate Studies, or a course/module convenor). The University expects that you will discuss your circumstances before Exam Boards meet, so that they may be taken into account in good time. You should be aware that, in the event you feel you need to appeal the outcome of an Exam Board, offering extenuating or mitigating circumstances at that point will need to be accompanied by a good reason why you withheld the information earlier. Without wanting to invade your privacy, the University does expect that you bring such circumstances to the department’s attention in a timely manner, despite the discomfort you might feel in so doing. Failure to disclose such circumstances at a time when you could have done so may subsequently be problematic. The department will do all it can to support you in difficult situations.
Your tutor’s office hours are also there for you to discuss any academic concerns throughout the year (e.g. to seek advice about how you might address recurrent weaknesses in your essays identified by module tutors). Please note, however, that your personal tutor will not normally comment on draft versions of essays.
Further information about the role of the personal tutor and the responsibilities of personal tutees is explained at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/tutors/personaltutors/functions/
Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC)
The Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) provides a forum for discussing ideas and addressing problems; it forms the basis for students’ views to be considered within the department and on senior university committees and is a formal means of gauging student opinion on academic matters. As a rule, student representatives should seek the opinion of a significant number of students on issues to be discussed. These issues will vary greatly, but recurrent themes include: syllabus, examinations and assessment, library provision, computing and welfare issues.
The SSLC consists of student representatives from each degree course in every year of study and three members of staff (the Head of Film and Television Studies, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who liaises with the departments teaching the Literature modules [English, French, German], and the Subject Specialist Librarian). The SSLC meets twice a term to consider matters brought to its attention by students or staff; issues are solicited by means of short meetings at the end of a lecture and/or by notices on the SSLC notice board just past the main entrance doors on the right, and/or the online SSLC web portal and/or a special Facebook page. Second Year representatives act as Chairperson and Secretary of the SSLC meetings and will also attend departmental staff meetings to discuss issued raised at the SSLC, where appropriate.
Minutes are taken by the SSLC Secretary and should record in a concise form who was present, what was discussed and what decisions were taken. They should be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (as soon as possible after the meeting) who will circulate them to all SSLC members as well as display them on the Common Room notice board. SSLC members may report back to other students in a slot before or after a lecture, but should inform the lecturer in advance to permit appropriate time-planning.
A hard copy booklet about the SSLC, produced by the Students’ Union, is available from the Students’ Union and the Academic Office; it can also be downloaded at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/sunion/sslc/handbook/. The Students’ Union organises training sessions for SSLC representatives.