Centre for Academic Development
Enhancing student success
Announcement The deadline for semester 2 requests for Departmental Languages, Literacies and Skills interventions has now passed. Please contact us by email to get in touch about a late request.
At the Centre for Academic Development, we work with staff across the University to improve academic outcomes for students.
You can learn more about our different areas of work by exploring the sections below.
Academic English modules and short courses
If you have concerns about a student’s use of English, please refer them to the Academic English team as soon as possible after they arrive at Brookes. The team offers a range of credit and non-credit-bearing modules for both undergraduate and postgraduate students which can really make a difference in helping students communicate effectively in their academic work. Topics covered include:
- essay writing
- report writing
- presentation skills
- seminar skills
- research writing
- academic style
- academic language
The efforts of faculty staff in promoting these opportunities can have a major impact on engagement so please do take the time to familiarise yourself with what is available. It may be that you have a cohort of students that includes many for whom English is an additional language, in which case you may want to explore the possibilities available through our Language, Literacies and Skills programme of embedded academic development.
Departmental Language, Literacies and Skills: Embedding academic development
Through this programme, we work with staff directly to embed academic language and literacies development at subject level on a range of issues from assignment briefs and feedback, to ways of teaching maths and stats, or working with WP or international students. Our preference is to embed what we do into programme content, rather than bolt it on so that students get an experience that is subject-specific and relevant to their needs.
Recent contributions have included:
- designing and delivering an academic writing skills module in HLS aimed at improving academic performance among students with protected characteristics
- developing assignment-focused guided reading materials for self-study
- running PhD writing retreats with faculty colleagues
- offering feedback on the inclusivity of assignment briefs for international students
- working with faculty colleagues to design and deliver workshops and short cources on a wide range of academic language and literacy skills including effective reading, critical thinking, reflective writing, statistical analysis and numeracy.
We are a limited resource with a set number of hours to offer each subject area, but if you would like to explore how we might help in your module or subject area, then please follow the link below.
Our deadline for semester 2 DLLS requests has now passed. Please get in touch by sending us an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maths and stats
All Brookes students can access support for the development of their maths and stats skills through 1:1 tutorials (face-to-face or online) or by participating in our weekly drop-ins (Wednesdays from 12.30 to 2 in Gibbs G126). It is the case that many students require multiple appointments to meet their needs, and we always try to accommodate this to the extent that limited resources allow. A recent expansion in the maths and stats team means that from semester 2, there will be a number of stats workshops as well, and we hope to expand what we offer in response to the needs of students we are working with. Colleagues in faculties play a key role in signpostng students to these development opportunities.
Our maths and stats lecturers are keen to work in partnership with faculty colleagues to enhance students’ confidence and ability through the Departmental Languages, Literacies and Skills programme (see above). The hope is that by making students aware of the range of support on offer and helping to effectively embed maths and stats sklls and confidence into programmes, students will be able to reach their full potential.
In response to the pandemic we introduced an enhanced programme of workshops, which are designed to help students overcome some of the challenges they may be facing as a result of interrupted learning. These workshops run through semester 1 and 2 and are useful to all students who are studying at a UK HEI for the first time or are returning to education. Full details of what is on offer is posted on our workshops page.
All our workshops are open to all students at Brookes so they are not discipline-specific. However, we also work with colleagues to help embed academic literacies into programme content through our departmental languages, literacies and skills programme, which you can read explore here.
Available to all students either online or face-to-face, our tutorials are an opportunity for students to develop their academic skills at any point in their academic journey. In these sessions, tutors work with students on a wide range of issues including building confidence in writing, criticality, planning, maths, and statistical analysis.
Appointments with study skills tutors generally last about forty minutes whilst maths and stats sessions are around an hour, and students are given notes of the session afterwards, with advice for further action.
All students are invited to give anonymous feedback when attending 1:1 tutorials and in Semester 2 of 2022/22, 89% of respondents gave the service a 5-star rating. Here are some recent student comments:
“Really helpful and friendly.”
“I always come away feeling helped and not judged.”
“She taught me how to look for the issues that needed [to be] changed rather than just telling me which helped greatly.”
“The tutorial was very helpful in clarifying my assumptions about how to present statistical data and the results of the analysis.
“This was an incredibly useful session and I shall use the guidelines suggested to me for my next essay. Thank you."
Our online resources page is a constantly curated bank of resources to develop academic skills that is popular with students and can sometimes prevent staff from having to reinvent the wheel.
Do let us know what you think! We hope staff will link to these resources through Moodle and module content to help deliver study skills where they are needed.
Our stats resources page differs in format to the others on the website in that it is designed to guide students through the process of statistical analysis via three questions: What type of data do you have? How will you describe your data (descriptive statistics)? Which statistical data will you use (inferential statistics)?
Our maths resources page covers a range of common topics.
The Writing Hub
The Writing Hub aims to enable Brookes to develop into a community of writers who support each other to excel. It encompasses staff and students, our academic writers across the disciplines, our present or future professional writers and those at every stage of developing their writing.
Throughout the year we host lectures, discussion groups, podcasts and more but the Writing Hub belongs to everyone so we invite you to get involved and contribute to its development. See the Writing Hub page for more details.