THE ROLE OF TUTORS AND TUTORING IN THE BOLOGNA EDUCATIONAL REFORM: ACHIEVING ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AND PROFESSIONAL SKILLS IN COLLEGE LAW STUDIES
Centro Universitario Villanueva (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) (SPAIN)
The Bologna Process is a European initiative to bring about transparency and compatibility of higher education across Europe. It formally involves the establishment of a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010 in which all degrees offered share a number of common features – with the aim of enhancing the mobility and employability of students, and the transparency and competitiveness of European higher education. Although much has been said about the virtues and drawbacks of such a goal, there’s still a feature which has deserved little attention: the importance of tutoring in achieving academic excellence, as well as other EHEA’s aims: the acquisition of professional skills at college stage.
This paper addresses the role of tutors in this process, a process that places the student as the centre of the entire process of teaching and learning, thereby requiring a whole shift in the way tutoring has traditionally been understood. Assessment methods need to be redefined and adapted to this new reality, where tutoring and learning must be integrated in the assessment process. Based upon our current experience in Centro Universitario Villanueva, we present a comprehensive research-driven perspective on what we think tutoring can achieve in Law studies. Specifically, we show that an adequate tutoring can contribute to academic excellence in three ways: motivating peer professors (those who share the same students, but are not posted as tutors); by means of both academic and personal assessment to students (the nature of which necesarily vary in each stage of their studies); by means of a professional-oriented mentoring to last graders.