A big virtual hello from the Student Engagement team!

With so many of us now working – and studying – from home, we thought you might be missing our friendly faces. With that in mind, our team wanted to reintroduce ourselves and give you a little reminder about who we are and what we do…

Zoom team meeting - headshots of all the Student Engagement team.
LS Student Engagement Team on Weekly ‘Coffee Break’ Meeting

The Student Engagement team is part of Learning Services and can normally be found in Catalyst. You may well have met some of us (prior to lockdown) at one of our UniSkills workshops or 1-2-1 appointments, but if you haven’t, now might be the time to get to know us. Most of our team are Academic Skills Advisors, who meet with students to discuss any concerns they may have about their academic writing, referencing, searching for books and journals, making presentations etc. – the list goes on. This can be during a 1-2-1 appointment where we can focus solely on your work, or during a UniSkills workshop where we meet with you in small groups and tackle academic skills together.

Whilst we might not be able to meet with you face to face at the moment, we can still support you online via virtual appointments and webinars – we are only a couple of mouse clicks away. Why not check out the full list of UniSkills webinars we currently run, to see if there is something we can help you with. Webinars are great, as you can sit back, take the information in and ask any questions through the chat function – no video/audio is required. For 1-2-1 appointments we can use video/audio, but if you prefer not to, we don’t mind, as there is always the chat function available and you can type what you would like to say instead. All our support is self-bookable online through the links included above.

We hope that your academic writing is going well, but if you are finding it difficult, please do get in touch and don’t struggle alone. Our team is here to help.

Now over to my colleagues, so you can see who makes up the team and find out a little bit more about us all. I’ll go first…                                                                           

Claire Olson – Academic Skills Advisor

Claire reading

Hello, I’m Claire, I’ve worked at Edge Hill for over 3 years and have enjoyed every moment. I love that I get to meet so many students and hopefully help them when they are struggling with their writing or referencing. Sometimes it’s just the opportunity to talk an essay through which helps and that to me is the best bit of my role.

Outside of work, I’m juggling homeschooling my 7-year-old daughter (like so many others) with completing my final Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education assignment. Hats off to those of you writing essays whilst keeping little ones amused, I know it’s not easy!

To try and relax I’m enjoying lots of reading in the sun and playing too much online scrabble! More reasons why my assignment still isn’t finished, now what do we say about procrastination…

Maisie Prior – Academic Skills Advisor

Maisie headshot

I’m passionate about helping students navigate through the minefield of university assessment and reflect on their own learning.

There’s nothing like the lightbulb moment when criticality “clicks”, or seeing students support one another in our UniSkills workshops and learning communities.

During the lockdown, I’ve been completing my own assignments as part of the Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education, brushing up on my Italian, and playing with my two mischievous kittens Ayla and Rio. 

John Wright – Academic Skills Advisor

John cycling

Originally from Anglesey, in beautiful North Wales, I’ve been a librarian for over 20 years and I still provide support in finding, evaluating and deploying information.

However, within my role here at Edge Hill, I get to support students in developing their academic writing practice too. It’s great to see students develop and improve as a result of your intervention, be that through one-to-one appointments, workshops or embedded sessions. During these challenging times, I’ve been trying to make the most of the lovely weather by getting out on my bike.

Andy Tomkins – Academic Skills Advisor

Andy headshot

I am a qualified librarian and have worked at Edge Hill for 13 years. My role involves helping students with referencing, finding academic information and developing their academic writing. This can involve one to one support, a UniSkills workshop or an embedded session arranged by your tutor.

I find it very rewarding to help someone with something that they may have struggled with and to see their understanding develop. I’ve been really impressed with the students I’ve helped during the current pandemic, that so many people are working hard under very challenging circumstances.

My main hobby is hillwalking and for much of the lockdown I wasn’t able to do this, something that was very difficult for me. Instead, I’ve been on lots of local walks and have noted the wildlife I’ve seen. As a result, my appreciation and knowledge of the area I live in, has really increased. That has been a big positive for me.

Helen Briscoe – Academic Skills Advisor

Helen Park Run 100

My name is Helen and I have worked in the Student Engagement Team for 18 months, but have been at Edge Hill University for almost 18 years! I love that my role enables me to meet so many students and support them with academic skills development, and couldn’t ask for a more friendly and encouraging team to work in 😊 

Since starting in this post I have really enjoyed being involved in developing new initiatives such as UniSpeaks and Returning to Learning that enables students to come together in learning communities to support each other. 

Currently, I am working from home with two teenagers in the house, so I always try to carve out some time to relax when I can. I am an avid reader and love cryptic crosswords which are a great way to become totally absorbed in something other than work or study. I also really enjoy jigsaws and am now onto my 3rd since the start of lockdown.

Sharon Pieroni – Academic Skills Advisor

I work with students to help them to develop new skills and to enhance existing skills, particularly in relation to academic writing.

During the lockdown, like many staff, I’ve been working from home. When I’m not working, I enjoy sewing and making clothes. To put this to use, I’ve joined the local For the Love of Scrubs group and we’ve made lots of scrubs for those working at Ormskirk and Southport hospitals, as well as for many Health Care Professionals from Edge Hill University. I’m happy that what I consider to be my ‘therapeutic pastime’ can help in a small way during this time!

Louise Speakman – Academic Skills Advisor

Louise's treadmill

My name is Louise, the one with the lovely Wigan accent where you may need subtitles in a session or appointment to understand it, the accent that is not the work. I am usually based in the Catalyst but right now can be found in a workspace at home. I genuinely enjoy the total diverse range of students I see on a daily basis; I am selfishly thrilled when I see the recognition or light bulb moment on your face when something works, and I learn so much from you guys.

Lockdown has been tough for many of us, I invested in a second-hand treadmill, I did not want to splurge too much, I am hoping to leave the house at some point in the future. As well as discovering my friends can use online meeting software, this to me has been a very special piece of equipment physically and psychologically. #staysafe

Kat Molesworth – Academic Skills Advisor

I am usually based at the Manchester St. James’ campus but with the opportunity to work in Catalyst too – best of both worlds!  Amongst other things, I really like meeting the range of students we have here at Edge Hill through UniSkills workshops and 1-2-1 support, talking about writing and thinking together with them, learning about what they are working on, and most of all seeing it when their hard work pays off. 

During lockdown, my office has been in the kitchen, so I’ve tried to relax by growing some healthy vegetables with the help of my cat to cut the snacking (not sure it’s working yet!).

Whilst our Academic Skills Advisors spend a lot of time front of house, meeting with students face to face, we also have key members of the team backstage who keep us all on track and have the big responsibility of managing the team and academic skills provision…

Helen Jamieson – Head of Student Engagement

Helen walking

I’m Helen and I am responsible for the delivery of academic skills support – what we call UniSkills at Edge Hill. I manage the Academic Skills Advisors who deliver the support and manage the quality of the provision we provide.

I particularly enjoy using quantitative and qualitative data to improve service provision and plan new student-centred academic skills interventions.  I have recently moved house so lockdown has been challenging on many levels!  To relax I like to do yoga (currently via Zoom) and go for long walks while listening to a podcast.

Julie Nolan – Student Engagement Manager

Julie's veg patch and Dobby

Hi, I am Julie and I do a lot of the ‘behind the scenes’ operational and organisational work to ensure the UniSkills offer runs as effectively (and smoothly) as possible for students. Amongst many tasks, this includes working with your academic tutors to coordinate our embedded UniSkills classroom sessions, writing informational and supportive online content for web and blogs, curating our student facing social media campaigns across all our LS platforms and responding to student support enquiries. I really enjoy all aspects of my job, but possibly my favourite part of the role is working closely with our fabulous Student Advisors who in turn offer you peer to peer support.

During lockdown, I have been able to spend more time in my garden and have been working hard to renovate the bottom third to reintroduced a (very overgrown!) greenhouse and vegetable patch…fingers crossed it isn’t all eaten by snails or, my English Bull Terrier, Dobby!

Alice Murphy – Student Engagement Officer

Alice headshot

Hi, I’m Alice.  My role is to co-ordinate a range of campaigns and initiatives and support the delivery of academic skills support for students. I particularly enjoy the interaction with students and team spirit. During lockdown besides home schooling and working I have started running to ease stress and relax.

Student Advisors

Student Advisor Team 2019-20

Last but by no means least, we also have a fabulous team of Student Advisors who offer peer to peer support. They have written lots of blog posts about who they are and what they get up to, so do check out some of their previous posts to find out more about them and the support they provide.

We hope you have enjoyed hearing a bit more about the Student Engagement team. We miss seeing your lovely faces in Catalyst and hope we will see you all back on campus soon. In the meantime, you know where we are if you need academic skills support, so get in touch.

Take care and stay safe,
The Student Engagement Team