Skip to content

This Enabling Academic Skills document forms part of the University of Chester’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2017-2022 and has been developed in alignment with the University’s Corporate Plan, Vision 2020 Altogether Better. The aim of this document is to set out how the delivery of academic skills provision can be strengthened across the institution, thus furthering the implementation of the Learning and Teaching Strategy.

Academic skills underpin the learning development of students in higher education, enabling them to be confident, autonomous critical thinkers and reflective learners. A new developmental model of academic skills delivery was established at the University of Chester for 2016/17, to encourage the embedding of academic skills within the disciplines through co-teaching at a modular level. The aim is to develop students’ academic skills to learn independently and with confidence, thus enabling students to achieve improved academic performance and personal fulfilment. This aim supports the University’s foundational values and the aims of the Learning and Teaching Strategy, by supporting successful progression and raising levels of achievement through developing students’ academic skills, so that students may reach their full potential.

Enabling Academic Skills, part of the Learning and Teaching Strategy 2017-22, outlines the vision and priorities for 2017 – 2022, which is to create a comprehensive academic skills provision whereby key partners in professional and academic departments work together to complement and extended existing support and enable the adoption of new approaches. In many faculties, academic staff already provide teaching in, and support for academic skills, often in conjunction with the Study Skills Advisory Team and Faculty Subject Librarians. Enabling Academic Skills outlines how the planned developments will enable the University to improve its provision of academic skills support for students.

Our Vision

“To nurture a culture of collaboration between academic and professional support departments for the continued embedding of academic skills and advancing of a holistic learning and teaching experience for Chester students.”

Our Objectives

Enabling Academic Skills has been developed in alignment with the University’s strategic objective to improve retention and progression at all levels, but with particular focus on the transitions between level 3 to level 4 and level 4 to level 5. The University aims to:

  1. Strengthen the use and analysis of outcomes and trends in transition, progression and achievement
  2. Promote student academic skills services, in partnership with the Students’ Union, Student Futures, Learning and Information Services, Senior University Teaching Fellows (SUTFs) and academic staff.
  3. Develop further and sustain the co-design and co-delivery approach between academic staff and the Study Skills Advisory team, to embed academic skills into the curriculum, in partnership with SUTFs and other professional services
  4. Enhance the academic skills online learning environment for students and further develop a flexible approach to the delivery of academic writing and maths and statistics provision
  5. Underpin teaching excellence and pedagogic innovation by actively providing and supporting development opportunities for academic staff in the area of embedding academic skills into the curriculum

Operating the Academic Skills Strategy 2017 – 2022

The following section sets out how the key objectives will be interpreted and implemented.

  1. Strengthen our use and analysis of outcomes and trends in transition, progression and achievement.
  • The overview of entry-level profiles in academic departments will be examined in order to understand where interventions should be targeted during entry transition.
  • SUTFs and academic departments will build academic skills delivery into programmes as part of the Continuous Monitoring and Enhancement (CME) review and action planning process. Each Faculty SUTF will work with the Faculty Study and/or Maths Skills Advisory lead to support and develop CME action planning where appropriate to enhance academic skills development.
  • Academic programmes will identify trends and key areas of concern across all levels, but paying particular attention to level 4. Faculty Study and Maths Skills Advisory leads will liaise with their Faculty SUTF to support programmes and module teams to create action plans where appropriate.
  1. Promote student academic skills services, in partnership with the Students’ Union, Student Futures, LIS, SUTFs and academic staff.
  • Each Faculty lead from the Study Skills Advisory Team and the Subject Librarian Teams in Learning and Information Services will work with the relevant SUTF, to represent and promote academic skills (including information literacy) in their designated Faculty/ies. This is required to strengthen and progress relationships with academic staff and encourage embedding of academic skills, particularly at level 4.
  • Through open communication, academic departments and professional services will actively seek to work together on projects to support the enhancement of academic skills development.
  • SUTFs, the Study Skills Advisory Team and Programme Teams will work openly and positively with students to enhance the delivery of academic skills both inside and outside of the curriculum via engagement with the Students’ Union.
  1. Develop further and sustain the co-design and co-delivery approach between academic staff and the Study Skills Advisory team, to embed academic skills into the curriculum, in partnership with SUTFs and other professional services
  • The SUTFs, Faculty Deans and Heads of Departments will actively promote the embedding of academic skills into the curriculum at every opportunity, emphasising the contribution professional services (including the Study Skills Advisory team and Faculty Subject Librarians) can make in supporting resource design and co-design and co-delivery of sessions in module time.
  • The SUTFs will continue to work with professional service staff and academic departments to develop initiatives, that emphasises the embedding of skills can be explicit without being time consuming and onerous.
  • Faculty Study Skills Advisory and Subject Librarian teams will take every opportunity to promote their respective services to academic staff and other professional departments, specifically liaising with SUTF and key department contacts to promote services in a timely and effective way.
  • Faculty Study and Maths Skills Advisers and Faculty Subject Librarians, with the support of the SUTFs where necessary, will exploit opportunities to co-deliver relevant sessions, both curricula and extra-curricular based.
  1. Enhance the academic skills online learning environment for students and further develop a flexible approach to the delivery of academic writing and maths and statistics provision
  • The University will provide the required training and development needed for all staff to improve their digital skills to enhance online learning environments for students.
  • The Learning Technology Unit will proactively work with academic and professional departments to continually improve Moodle and explore and develop ways to engage with students remotely, using digital technologies.
  • The Study Skills Advisory team will continue to work with academic and professional colleagues to update and develop interactive online academic and maths skills resources, and wherever possible, explore and adopt new digital approaches.
  1. Underpin teaching excellence and pedagogic innovation by actively providing and supporting development opportunities for academic staff in the area of embedding academic skills into the curriculum
  • The Study Skills Advisory team will keep up-to-date with learning development pedagogy through relevant literature and engaging with relevant CPD activities in order to provide relevant support to SUTFs and academic departments.
  • Relevant professional and academic staff are encouraged to contribute to the delivery of sessions in the area of embedding academic skills on the PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and other Learning and Teaching Institute programmes and workshops in addition to other Continuing Professional Development programmes, as applicable.
  • With the support of the SUTFs and Academic Development Advisers, the Study Skills Advisory team will design, deliver and update a Moodle space aimed at supporting academic staff to embed academic skills.
  • Academic Development Advisers, SUTFs, Faculty Study and Maths Skills Advisory Leads and Faculty Subject Librarians will endeavour to support curriculum redevelopment to include academic skills embedding.

Monitoring Impact

In order to effectively monitor and review impact, the Learning and Teaching Sub-committee will:

  • Work with the SUTFs, Subject Librarian Teams and the Study Skills Coordinator and Advisory Team to monitor, evidence and report the breadth and depth of academic skills activities across the institution in relation to this strategy to Senior Management.
  • Receive and act upon an annual report presented by the Study Skills Coordinator that presents a range of data and qualitative evidence capturing student and staff participation; student outcomes; and evaluative evidence.
  • Progress identified themes and actions to Academic Quality and Enhancement Committee where necessary for the attention of the Senior Management Team.

In addition, as part of their Performance and Development Planning process (PDP) SUTFs, Subject Librarian Teams and the Study Skills Coordinator and Advisory Team should review and enhance their activities with reference, where relevant, to the stated aims and the strategic approach outlined in this Enabling Academic Skills document.

Evidence of success

  • Increase in student participation and engagement with Study Skills and Learning and Information Services
  • Student satisfaction with the University’s approach to academic skills delivery
  • Level of academic staff engaging with academic and information literacy skills
  • Number of active and effective professional service partnerships
  • Academic staff participation with an academic and maths skills training VLE site
  • Improved module success rates

Supporting strategies:

The University of Chester’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2017-2022

University of Chester’s Access Agreement 2018-2019

University of Chester Vision 2020