Managing Contact Expectations


Managing Contact Expectations

Importance of Theme “Managing contact expectations”

The theme “managing contact expectations” is important as it ensures that students understand the level of contact hours available, it indicates when staff are available and it outlines how students can contact staff.


In the clip below staff share their methods of managing their contact time. The extract is from the 2014/15 NSS event introduced by Professor Martin Stringer. To watch the whole discussion or the one from the panel members at the Bay Campus visit the SALT TV resources and search for NSS.

Vivienne Rogers, Lecturer in the College of Arts and Humanities says that you need to set the ground rules and students will understand.


Dr Phil Race, Addressing Student Satisfaction – adopted from material published in Making Teaching Work by Phil Race and Ruth Pickford, London: Sage, 2007).

How to make yourself available and contactable ?

  • Advertise “office hours” when they can guarantee to find you. If demand is high, post an appointment sheet on your door, so they can book an appointment of five or ten minutes with you.
  • Announce your scheduled office hours during each whole-group session – students then have no excuse for not knowing how, where and when to find you.
  • Encourage emails from students. Set some groundrules for help enquiries, for example “short, specific questions please”, and agree a timescale in which you will respond to emails.
  • Post replies to frequently-asked questions on a discussion board in your institution’s virtual learning environment, and replying to the questioner with details of where your response is lodged.
  • Explain to your students that you’re not automatically free to talk to them every time they happen to see you in a corridor or refectory, and that you really want to be helpful to them by giving their needs your full attention, and can do this all the better when they can give you advanced notice.

The theme is also significant in relation to the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Academy Fellowship.

National Student Survey

The theme has been taken from the National Student Survey question “I have been able to contact staff when I needed to” under the category Academic Support.

In the recent 2014 NSS results 87% of students at Swansea University agreed that “I have been able to contact staff when I needed to”.

Higher Education Academy

The theme is also important in regards to the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) as “I have been able to contact staff when I needed to” contributes to Professional Values V1 respect individual learners and diverse learning communities and Core Knowledge K4 the use and value of appropriate learning technologies.

For more information on the UKPSF follow the link https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/professional-recognition/uk-professional-standards-framework-ukpsf

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