With it being the start of Semester 1, we thought it was the perfect time to say ‘Happy New Academic Year’ to all our new and returning students. It’s also a brilliant opportunity to reintroduce you to your Student Engagement team (known to many as the UniSkills team) and the support we provide.

Who are the Student Engagement Team?

The Student Engagement Team are part of Library and Learning Services and are based in Catalyst. We are a super friendly team who deliver academic skills (UniSkills) support to you, this covers a whole host of topics; be it planning assignments, writing critically, searching for relevant literature, referencing and much, much more. We deliver embedded sessions during your timetabled teaching, online workshops which you can self-book and we provide one-to-one support for students too. You can check out the UniSkills webpages to find out more about the types of support we offer.

Whether you need help with structuring your writing, how to reference correctly, tips on presentations or how best to search for relevant literature – we can help. So don’t delay, access UniSkills support today.

Meet the Student Engagement team…

Returning students may already be familiar with our faces, but for those of you who are new or haven’t accessed UniSkills support before, we thought you might like to get to know a little bit more about each member of the Student Engagement team. So, read on to find out who we are and what we get up to – both in and outside of our roles.

A group photo of the Student Engagement team smiling and standing together in front of the bookshelves in Catalyst.
Library and Learning Services Student Engagement Team.
Left to right, back row: Julie Nolan, Claire Swanwick, Adam Paxman, Andy Tomkins, Christine Anderton and Helen Briscoe.
Left to right, front row: Claire Olson, Helen Jamieson, Emily Pennington and Maisie Prior.


Helen Jamieson – Head of Student Engagement

Photograph of Helen Jamieson practising yoga outside.

I’m Helen and I have worked in Higher Education for over 25 years now! For the last 6 years I have managed the Student Engagement team. We are responsible for the delivery of high-quality academic skills support (UniSkills) here at Edge Hill University.  I particularly enjoy using quantitative and qualitative data to critically evaluate and improve service provision and plan new student-centred academic skills interventions. I feel lucky to manage a team of staff who put the student at the heart of everything we offer.

Outside of work, I am a qualified Seasonal and Yin yoga teacher.  I love nothing more than finding great new yoga classes and retreats, especially those that involve spending time in nature. I am also an avid reader and have usually got my nose in a book!

Julie Nolan – Student Engagement and Communications Manager

Photograph of Julie Nolan reading in a library.

Hi there, I’m Julie, your Library and Learning Services Student Engagement and Communications Manager. I am responsible for a lot of the ‘hidden’ work, making sure your appointments and workshops glide along smoothly, and handling all those sneaky ‘behind the scenes’ bits and bobs that make our services successful for you! You may perhaps know me better though as the person behind your communications and campaigns. Remember Got a Catalyst Crush? back in February/March 2023? Well, hang onto your hats because we’ve got some exciting upgrades coming your way on the back of this project and I will be leading the way for Library and Learning Services, Student Services and Careers!

Beyond my role in Student Engagement, I’ve got a wild side too! Off campus, you’ll find me elbow-deep in my garden, nurturing all things green and growing. I’m a sucker for sustainability and looking after our beautiful planet – after all, there is no planet B, right? I firmly believe that every small action counts in the climate crisis battle. So, I’m all about recycling, reusing, choosing slow fashion (hello, charity shops and shopping your own wardrobe!), composting like a champ and letting those wild weeds bloom!

And guess what? My passion has naturally seeped back into my work as well. Over the past year, I’ve been on a mission to make our practices here at Library and Learning Services more sustainable. We’re talking eco-friendly merchandise and engagement initiatives, all geared towards making our campus a greener, more eco-conscious environment. If you’re curious to know more about my green journey, and how YOU are already an agent of change, check out my Sustainable Student Engagement blog.

So, that’s me, balancing the academic world and my green thumbs. I can’t wait to connect with you all and make your university journey unforgettable!

Headshot photograph of Claire Swanwick

Claire Swanwick – Senior Academic Skills Advisor

Hi, I’m Claire and I am a Senior Academic Skills Advisor. I spent the first 22 years of my career as a lecturer in Further Education and so really understand the transition that students make from FE to HE.

I am always excited to experience the buzz of a new academic term and support students to develop the skills they need to be successful on their programme of study.

I particularly enjoy helping students to gain the confidence to develop academic style and flair, as they embark upon and continue their academic writing journey. I am always impressed with how students take responsibility for their own progress and use the advice and support from our team to reach their potential and become autonomous learners.

When I’m not at my desk, I’m kept busy with two young children and often joke that my second job is a glorified taxi driver! My hobbies include walking, reading, and attending the gym as well as my two guilty pleasures which currently include seeking out bargains on Vinted and bingeing anything to do with travel and far-flung escapes!

Headshot photograph of Christine Anderton.

Christine Anderton – Student Engagement Officer

Hi, I am Christine Anderton and I’ve worked at Edge Hill for 19 years in a variety of roles within Student Services and Learning Services. In my current role as Student Engagement Officer, I am responsible for managing the team of Student Advisors, co-ordinating campaigns and student engagement activity, social media communications and much, much more! I particularly enjoy how varied my role is, so no two days are ever the same.

Outside the workplace I like the quiet life, but I enjoy reading, cooking, doing super hard puzzle games and binge watching a TV series on Netflix.

Headshot photograph of Adam Paxman.

Adam Paxman – Academic Skills Advisor

Hello, my name is Adam. I’ve been an Academic Skills Advisor at Edge Hill for 2 years. Before that I supported learners and taught in Further Education, and then lectured in Higher Education for about 8 years. I was the first person in my family to go to university. Having a background teaching in Further Education definitely helps in my role, as when I’m not supporting students to develop their study skills, I focus on induction and transition.

I love the day-to-day aspects of my role, supporting individual students in academic writing or information skills 1-2-1 appointments, as well as delivering workshops and embedded sessions for groups on a wide range of topics.

At weekends I’m usually on days out or hunting for a café with decent gluten free options with my wife and young son. I write and self-publish fiction and poetry. I’m also a big reader and love science fiction – especially Star Trek. Please don’t get me started about Star Trek!

Andy Tomkins – Academic Skills Advisor

Hi, I’m Andy, a qualified librarian and I have worked at Edge Hill for 16 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. It’s good to see students back on campus, working hard and experiencing some normal life.

My main hobby is hillwalking, and this takes me all over the UK and even all over the world. Most weekends I travel to the Peak District, the Lake District, North Wales and even the south of Scotland.

Headshot photograph of Emily Pennington, smiling with her dog Pumpkin.

Emily Pennington – Academic Skills Advisor

Hi, I’m Emily and I joined the Student Engagement team as an Academic Skills Advisor in September 2022. I hold a PhD in feminist theology, with my manuscript being published by Routledge in 2016. I previously spent over ten years working as an HE lecturer, specialising in contextual theologies, after which I moved into teaching RE at KS3-5. As a form tutor for Key Stage 5, I gained valuable insight into the concerns that students hold when moving into Higher Education. I am passionate about helping alleviate those concerns, and guiding students to be the best researchers and writers they can possibly be. I am excited to be part of the Student Engagement team, in a role where I feel I can really support students.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my rescue dog Pumpkin, plotting my next travel adventure, getting creative with either a new craft or some experimental vegan cooking, and racing other swimmers at the gym (unbeknownst to them!).

Claire Olson – Academic Skills Advisor

Photograph of Claire Olson, on a walk in the countryside.

Hello, I’m Claire and I have worked at Edge Hill for almost 7 years. During this time, I’ve supported hundreds of students struggling with their academic writing, there’s nothing better than when a student suddenly grasps criticality or reflection and can apply it to their own assignment. I also spend a lot of my time looking after evaluation activities for the team, I get a real buzz out of reading student feedback and hearing how valued UniSkills support is.

I’m passionate about understanding how building resilience can impact on student success and enjoy discussing ways in which we can develop both our personal and academic resilience.

Outside of work, I’m mum to a very chatty 10-year-old, who keeps me busy and always entertained! Before working at Edge Hill, I worked in museums and galleries for over a decade, and I still love to visit exhibitions in my free time. Once a museum geek, always a museum geek! I’m also an avid reader, who is powered mostly by coffee, cake, and biscuits.

Headshot photograph of Helen Briscoe.

Helen Briscoe – Academic Skills Advisor

Hi, I’m Helen! I have been part of the Student Engagement Team since 2018, but have worked at Edge Hill University for 21 years! I love the variety that comes with being an Academic Skills Advisor, and particularly enjoy meeting and supporting so many different students. In this role I have developed new initiatives such as Returning to Learning – a community of practice which supports students who have had a break from education to develop their confidence. I also design and create interactive resources such as the UniSkills toolkits on Academic Integrity and Referencing.

Keeping my mind and body healthy is important to me. I regularly attend PT sessions, and run every week with the local WeStryv group, as well as regularly taking part in Ormskirk Parkrun. I also love reading and cryptic crosswords … but I am at my happiest when I am drinking coffee and eating cake!

Headshot photo of Academic Skills Advisor Kat

Kat Molesworth – Academic Skills Advisor

Hi, I’m Kat. 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 one-to-one 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. 

Maisie Prior – Academic Skills Advisor

Headshot photograph of Maisie Prior.

Hello, I’m Maisie and I’ve been an Academic Skills Advisor here at Edge Hill University for over 5 years. My favourite part about working in the Student Engagement team is being able to help students realise their potential and achieve the best grades they can. 

It was also wonderful to be involved in the creation of our critical thinking toolkit, and I’m excited to keep developing lots of new workshops and resources in this next academic year. 

I’m a qualified Spanish teacher so in my free time you’ll find me brushing up my language skills, travelling to sunnier places and taking lots of photos!

Student Advisors

Last but by no means least, we also have a fabulous team of Student Advisors who offer peer to peer support. As current Edge Hill students they are brilliantly placed to provide helpful tips and advice, so keep an eye out for them during online workshops and at other events they will be running.

We hope you have enjoyed learning a bit more about your Student Engagement team. Best of luck with your studies and do please check out UniSkills, we’re looking forward to supporting you soon!