Team Profile: Library Academic Literacies

The Study Smart team
The Academic Literacies team recently launched Study Smart, a range of programs focused on learning skills development that aims to widen participation, increase student retention and assist in the achievement of graduate attributes.


Who works in the Library Academic Literacies team?

  • Kim Heckenberg – Academic Literacies Manager
  • Katrina Trewin – Academic Integrity Officer
  • Claire Urbach – Learning Advisor (Academic Literacy)
  • Beverley Miles - Learning Advisor (Academic Literacy)
  • Anna Wallace - Learning Advisor (Academic Literacy)
  • Tae McKnight - Learning Advisor (Academic Literacy)
  • Study Smart Advisors – there are 10 casual staff who provide a drop-in face-to-face service across five campus libraries for academic writing and communication.

What does the team do?

The Library Academic Literacies team takes a holistic approach to integrating academic literacy and academic integrity across the University. The service aims to support widening participation, student retention and achievement of Graduate Attributes. Through our online resources, face-to-face consultations and partnerships with Schools, we seek to empower students to develop the learning skills they need to succeed at university, to become lifelong learners and to be competitive in the employment market.
Where is the team located?

The Library Academic Literacies team is located in the John Phillips Library on the Kingswood campus.  The team also travels regularly to the University's various campuses, working collaboratively with various Schools and Units.
Who does the team work with?

The team works with Schools and key units across the University to support the development of students' academic literacy and academic integrity. The team also keeps abreast of current trends in the sector and has formed strategic relationships with other universities as part of this process.

The Library Study Smart website (opens in a new window) is also a resource for the general public, particularly high schools in the local area as they prepare their students for university.
The Study Smart Advisors work directly with students via a drop-in face-to-face service at Bankstown, Campbelltown, Hawkesbury, Parramatta and Penrith campuses.
What would be a good example of the work that you are involved in?

As the Academic Literacies team is new to the Library, the team has been focused on developing resources for students. These resources include a Study Smart website and a Study Smart vUWS site for all enrolled students, which were officially launched by Professor Denise Kirkpatrick on 18 July. The team is now focused on working directly with Schools to embed academic literacies skills into the curriculum by integrating and scaffolding a range of skills, and by mapping these skills to learning outcomes.
The drop-in face-to-face Study Smart service (formerly called 'Library Roving') has been operating successfully in the Library over the past three years and has grown in popularity during this time. This service, which provides practical support to help boost students' academic skills, covers a range of areas including analysing assignment tasks, study skills, communication, presentations, and exam preparation techniques.

Anna is working with the School of Business to design online learning resources on the key skills of paraphrasing and summarising to assist first-year students with writing assignments and avoiding misconduct.

Beverley is taking a program approach in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts by collaborating with the Director of Academic Program  for the Bachelor of Arts, Unit Coordinators, School Librarian, Curriculum Advisor and Course Quality Officer to target academic literacies and academic integrity in first-year core units.

Claire is working with the Academic Development Unit in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, and with the Directors of Academic Program in the School of Education, to review Learning Guides for core units and develop more robust scaffolding for students to develop their academic literacy and skills.

Katrina is continuing to provide support for the educative use of Turnitin and GradeMark, while also developing responsive material for students about academic integrity.

Tae is currently looking at professional qualities/attribute frameworks to assist the School of Medicine to map Medicine student competencies against the Australian Qualifications Framework standards, the University's Graduate Attributes, and Australian Medical Council Graduate Outcomes.

Kim is currently managing the implementation of YourTutor as well as the launch of the Study Smart website. Kim will provide strategic representation for the team at various fora relating to academic integrity, literacy development and student support.

What challenges does the team face?

As a new service, one of the initial challenges is consolidating our team and objectives, and clearly communicating our service to relevant stakeholders in the University. We have been taking every opportunity to build relationships and have developed a communications plan to coincide with the launch of the Study Smart website. As many of us are new to the University, another challenge is finding relevant knowledge and applying it appropriately to the unique context of Western Sydney University. We are making the most of the diverse expertise within our team and the Library to work collaboratively to overcome this challenge.
What is the team focusing on in the next 12 months?

The Academic Literacies team is focusing on the development of key academic literacy and academic integrity resources to support the Study Smart service as well as promote and embed academic literacy and integrity into the curriculum. The resources include a Study Smart website and a Study Smart vUWS site along with a drop-in face-to-face service for academic writing and communication support for students.
The Learning Advisors have begun working closely with academic and professional colleagues to ensure our students gain the required skills for study success, widening participation, employability, and lifelong learning. The key focus for the Library's Academic Integrity Officer is to provide support and resources in relation to academic integrity, promoting a consistent understanding across the University community. The team will work to achieve these objectives over the next 12 months.