Academic Support: bridging the borders

  • Alex Lumley: Associate Dean of Academic Support
  • Graham Barton: Academic Support Coordinator

Brief description of session and activities

The session comprises a) presentation of a short paper and b) group discussion. We interpret the crossing borders theme firstly through reflection on the development of the first UAL Strategy for Academic Support, a process that has involved considerable consultation, collaboration and co-creation. Secondly, through discussion, we aim to explore key critical interfaces to inform development of the new ‘freestanding’ university-wide part of the offer.

  1. The introductory paper (15 mins) will

    • provide an overview of the Strategy’s key underpinning principles and response to relevant research to address differentials in student engagement, retention and achievement;
    • describe how contributions from library, language and study support staff (university and college teams) together create a coherent enhancement model for academic support;
    • emphasise our relational understanding of support, recognising the demands and offers of many specific territories, and thus students’ needs to develop the awareness and confidence to navigate many border crossings - from culturally diverse prior learning experiences to UAL’s expectations, then through study to professional, global and virtual contexts.
  2. The discussion (30 mins) will

    • be participatory and exploratory, inviting three groups to discuss the potential for university-wide academic support development, considering the critical interfaces between: (i) arts and design subjects (ii) creative and cultural industries and (iii) diverse cultures
    • by providing feedback, help inform design of the freestanding academic support offer, which will seek to be distinctive through provision of an inter-disciplinary and cross-college space for learning. As such, it seeks to complement the embedded and curriculum-support offered within the Colleges and further enrich the provision for all students in a way that bridges internal borders.

The session will also enable development of a further paper planned for submission to relevant professional journals discussing how academic support can create an increasingly relevant space for trans-disciplinary learning.

How will students be involved in the session?

Hopefully as audience in the presentation and as participants in the proposed discussion as their contribution continues to be vital to the development of the academic support offer

What will participants take away from the session?

A better understanding of academic support and how the overall offer under development is an enhancement rather than a deficit model, (i.e seeks to add value by assisting all students to fulfil their academic potential)

As reflective practitioners, delegates will hopefully enjoy the opportunity to reconsider any pre-conceived ideas they may have about academic support and to work with us on shaping the future direction for this key aspect of the provision.