Your department will have at least one Senior Tutor (PGR) who has overall responsibility for the academic and pastoral care of postgraduate students. These experienced colleagues will be able to guide and support you in handling individual student problems or queries, and you should consult them if you are uncertain how to proceed or would value a second opinion. 

Graduate School's Supervisors' Guide: Professor Paul Luckam

Listen to Professor Paul Luckham, Department of Chemical Engineering, talking about the role of Senior Tutor (PGR) and some of the issues facing research students at Imperial College London.

The Senior Tutor (PGR) will normally have had a lot of experience supervising students and are a good source of information when tricky or unusual situations occur. They will have detailed knowledge of the structure of research programmes and will have dealt with various support services in the College (Registry, Health Centre, Disability Advisory Service etc.). They normally attend monthly Senior Tutor Forums where current issues concerning students are discussed.

It is very important that you do not take certain matters into your own hands e.g. in cases where a student wishes to lodge a complaint against a member of staff, or reports financial issues or visa queries (also consult International Student Support). In fact, anything which is potentially controversial should be directed to the Senior Tutor (PGR).

When involving your Senior Tutor (PGR) there is guidance on how to manage confidentiality and disclosure of student information that you should be aware of.  This is set out in the online Personal Tutors’ Guide.   You should also be aware that your student may wish to go directly to their Senior Tutor (PGR) and may not wish to consult with you. 

It is important that the Senior Tutor (PGR) is informed promptly of any major personal or academic problems with students, and in particular repeated absences.  You may need to discuss your student anonymously if the student has not given you permission to disclose their personal circumstance. Except in the case of familiar or straightforward interactions, you are advised to keep the Senior Tutor (PGR) informed about difficult or challenging cases before taking action with a student.