Recently I, and two of my UniSkills colleagues, presented our Academic Resilience research at the ALDinHE conference in Northampton University.
Now, as Academic Skills Advisors within the Student Engagement Team we teach sessions regularly as part of our job – you may even have attended one of our UniSkills sessions yourself. However, it’s safe to say that nerves both about the delivery of the workshop, and the content we were discussing, were high. But why?
Recently, we’ve been asking you – our students – what you think about UniSkills and the academic support we provide.
Happily, lots of you provided some great feedback and we thought it would be useful to share it with those of you who may need some extra support but haven’t yet booked to attend a workshop or 1-2-1 appointment.
So, read on to find out what you may have been missing out on and how to get involved…
The leaves have most definitely fallen and it’s finally hat and scarf weather. Over the past couple of months we’ve said a big hello to our fresh new starters and a warm welcome back to our returning students. We couldn’t be happier to see you all on campus.
Whilst the past year or so has been somewhat distanced, this new semester has hopefully been a time to reconnect face to face. So, with Christmas looming let us help you Sleigh Your Studies, as we reintroduce you to the Student Engagement Team and remind you how we can help support and develop your academic skills.
As we all know, things are going to be a little different this new academic year. But with a bit of planning we can all still study productively and happily 😊
I’m Claire, an Academic Skills Advisor in the Student Engagement Team. My role
is to support students to develop their academic writing skills, but up until
recently I was also a student at EHU – having just completed my PGCTHE over the
summer. Between March-July of this year, I (like many of you) juggled work and
home schooling alongside completing my final assignments. I learnt a lot during
this time and can empathise fully with those of you who have been balancing so
much these past few months – and may be continuing to do so.
this in mind, I thought I’d share some of my top study tips..
and find somewhere comfortable to study. Whilst we might not all be lucky
enough to have the space (or funds) to kit out a spare room as an office, there
are ways you can make sure that your studying life doesn’t overtake your
personal life. I happily spent time in both my living room and bedroom writing assignments;
propped up against pillows and blankets with notes all around me will always be
my most comfortable place to study! That said however, I made a conscious
effort to tidy away the laptop, notes, articles and books each time I finished
for the day. Out of sight, out of mind, is a positive here; as you want to be
able to switch off when you are not in studying mode. I found a cheap
collapsible storage box helped with this.
fill it with all my ‘stuff’ once I had finished and then put the lid on it! So,
if you haven’t got a permanent space to study, think about how you can adapt a
temporary or flexible space to work in.
with children around can be hard. As a single mum of a very lively seven-year-old,
I know only too well that juggling studying alongside being a parent is not
easy, particularly if you are unable to rely on your usual family/friends to help
with childcare. For me, during lockdown, I often had to rely on TV and YouTube
Kids to help keep my daughter entertained – I now know more YouTubers than I
ever did pre-COVID! Whilst parent-guilt can be difficult to deal with when you’re
juggling everything – remember it’s never a long-term situation and workloads
will vary at different points in the semester.
Whilst working to a deadline, I worried at times that my own stress and anxiety was visible to my little girl. However, I was also showing her the importance of not giving up – even when things were proving difficult. Resilience is something we can all develop and rely on to help overcome obstacles and setbacks. My colleagues and I have put together an Academic Resilience toolkit, which you might find useful if you would like to develop these skills further. You may also want to check out Fika, an app which can help support good wellbeing and study habits.
Remember, Library & Learning Services are here to support you with your study skills but do reach out to a tutor or Student Services if you are struggling to balance your commitments.
so much studying taking place now online, the onus is on you more than ever to
be organised and keep to deadlines. If you don’t already, try using your phone calendar
to keep track of where you need to be and when. I’d be lost without Google
calendar and the ability to colour code all my different activities across the
week. Set reminders, not just for final deadlines, but also for targets such as
completing readings or making plans.
If you’re looking for tips on how to manage your time or put together a study timetable, our Getting Organised webpages may prove useful. Remember to also take regular breaks from studying, we all need down time and the opportunity to relax 😊
studying online, I found staying in touch with friends from my course helpful
as we could support and motivate each other. You might find group message chats
or online catch-ups useful if you are unable to meet in person.
Student Engagement Team are continuing to deliver UniSkills (our programme of academic
skills support) virtually online. Our team is here to support and motivate you
via friendly webinars and 1-2-1 support sessions. Whether you need support with
referencing, academic writing or finding relevant literature we can help.
next few months might be rather different, but there is plenty of study support
available. Focus on the positives and plan for any challenges. Finally, good
luck to all our new students and those of you returning to your studies – we
hope to see you in our webinars and 1-2-1s very soon!
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…
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 appointmentsand 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
A big hello and warm welcome to all our new and returning students.
The past couple of months have been an exciting time for Library & Learning Services, as over the summer we relocated into our new home in Catalyst. We can’t wait to share this fabulous new space with you.
To showcase Catalyst and help you settle in to your new surroundings, there are various activities you can come along to, including drop-in tours and peer to peer support.
To help you find your way around Catalyst, come and join our friendly Student Advisors who will give you a guided tour. These tours are an ideal way to familiarise yourself with the fabulous facilities, learning spaces and how to access a wide range of support from Learning Services.
All tours will include a virtual tour of Learning Edge, so you gain an overview of all the essentials you need to know and the resources you can access.
Catalyst Tours are available on a drop-in basis (no booking required) and will run 17th – 28th September (weekdays). Tours leave from the ground floor of Catalyst every half hour 10am – 4pm (last tour at 3.30pm).
Drop in and speak to one of our knowledgeable Student Advisors for peer to peer support and guidance on how to get started with your key resources including; how to log in, your My Library tab, Reading Lists Online, Library Catalogue and Discover More, accessing UniSkills support and much more.
Workshops will take place in the Willow Training Room, 1st Floor, they are drop in and will run each weekday, 1st – 12th October between 12pm-2pm.
We look forward to seeing you all in Catalyst, and at your Learning Services induction very soon!