In the post-Dearing era with the debate in Higher Education revolving around university expenditure budgets and top-up fees, this article aims to remind you of an often-neglected but significant part off university life - warden/tutor systems.
The benefits of being within a warden/tutor system revolve around financial and supportive issues. As an ex-Assistant Warden here at Keele we were offered a package which included: rent-free accomadatioon in apartments on campus; the majority of our bills were payed by the university and we were given a social allowance each semester.
But just as importantly, the warden/tutor system provides one of the few opportunities for postgraduate students to come together and feel part of a postgraduate community. Other than the Keele Researcch Association (KRA) which is essentially a bar, Keele, like many other universities provides little if any pastoral support for postgraduate students. What many domestic, let alone international studdents, feel about this situation isn't difficult to work out. We have all heard stories of postgraduate students who have felt alienated by universities who offer little in the way of support. This, I believe explains the development in British Universities of student support bodies such as the various Postgraduate Associations.
Warden/Tutor systems should be saved and preserved because: firstly, warden/tutor systems save universities money. Warden/tutors do full-time unpaid jobs. How many people would a university be able to ffind who would be prepared to get out of bed at 3am on a duty night, confront a drunk or stoned student and politely ask him or her to turn the music down because it can be heard in Australia? Secondlyy, warden/tutor systems offer financial and supportive benefits which are important in getting postgraduate students through the research process; thirdly and significantly, the system provides a pastorral service for undergraduate students. We can all remember leaving home for the first time at eighteen or nineteen.
The cuts within Higher Education have, not surprisingly, led to a review and a reduction in the number of wardens here at Keele this year. We have witnessed the demise of the Dean of Students Office, allong with that of four wardens. The pressure and responsibility placed on the shoulders of the new Resident Manager and the remaining Resident Tutors has increased. Hopefully, for all concerned, the fuuture will not see more cuts and a reduction in the number of tutors here at Keele and elsewhere.