University offer academic support network ‘ASK’

Student support service offered by Newcastle University.
Image: Flickr, University of Fraser ValleyStudent support service offered by Newcastle University. Image: Flickr, University of Fraser Valley

Newcastle University are proud to offer the Academic Skills Kit (ASK) to all undergraduate and postgraduate students. During their studies, it is likely that students will require academic support and guidance provided by one of the support teams at the university. As a result, the University aims to surround students with a network of support services. The library, Writing Development Centre and Student Wellbeing Services, have developed methods available to assist students with their work.

As a universal website, it is hardly surprising that the ASK programme has been met by a wave of success. By incorporating a modern feel to the site, it has contributed to an impressive 5100 visits since the beginning of this academic year.

Already students have commented on the helpfulness of the website for example a second year undergraduate student told The Courier that:

“I just think it is really useful how you’ve got everything, you don’t need to go to each website.”

Equally, this praise was mirrored by staff at the university whom claim that “this is a fantastic resource and one will I will be signposting students to.”

The Writing Development Centre is particularly useful if a student requires specific analytical advice. From breaking down an essay question to tweaking a dissertation, the team provides first hand advice as to how to tackle queries

Although they are not subject specialists and therefore cannot proofread factual content, they guide students in planning and structuring their assignments, develop their critical advice and reflect upon their previous feedback in order to make academic progress.  Students are offered varying options, including a series of one-to-one tutorials, group workshops and writers’ workshops.

On a more widespread scale, the library staff runs 24/7 academic support. Whether a student feels more comfortable communicating with a member of staff face to face or via social media, their questions are always answered. This could be help with finding relevant books, referencing correctly and seeking valuable research, the library staff are on hand to assist.

If more specialist advice is required, for instance in the case of a dissertation thesis, students are able to book a one-to-one session with the Liaison Team whom are more than willing to follow up their concerns and go into more depth.

Equally, if students require psychological or more personal support the ASK network can provide guidance. The Student Wellbeing Services, based on Level Two of King’s Gate, are the primary port of call if students require guidance regarding fees, accommodation, Study Abroad schemes and Visa Support.

In the case of more unique enquiries, the staff desk will direct students to a more appropriate member of the support team. At the university there are multiple groups, including the Mental Health Team, which caters for emotional needs and general wellbeing, the Specialist Learning Team, the Disability Team and The Financial Support Team.

Furthermore, for many students the ASK network is a comforting service around the exam season. The team of academic experts regularly offers students advice about how to organize their revision, answer the fundamental questions about the arrangement of the exam day including how long it lasts and where it is held and the importance of regular breaks. With a reassuring helpline, it is easier to overcome the stress and anxiety which often overwhelms students at the end of a busy semester.

The Student Support Team also assists students to effectively manage their time at university. Studying at university does not amount to consistent studying but an equilibrium which consists of work, socializing and managing personal responsibilities as an independent young adult.

As well as attending compulsory lectures and seminars, it is essential to complete course reading and assignments which can sometimes be overwhelming. The student support team can help to relieve this feeling, for example, The Writing Development Centre implements strategies to aid procrastination woes and with prioritizing of workload, whilst the Specialist Learning Team help students to draft a work plan. Ultimately this will help students to create a structured daily work plan.

Perhaps the most popular guidance sought from ASK is with regards to referencing. As an exhausting and complex academic task, students often feel confused about the minefield of ways to cite their primary and secondary sources. Subsequently, it is useful to be able to receive first hand advice from academic staff. The Student Support Service generally promote their triadic steps of guidance. This includes taking note of your sources including page numbers and the date that you last accessed the source, not leaving it until the last minute in order to avoid plagiarism, and getting organized by using referencing management software.

ASK is a unique support service for students of Newcastle University. Whether students require psychological, personal or academic support, the Student Support Team will cater for your needs. It is fundamental to remember that all you have to do is ASK.

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