10th September 2019

About the team

The Academic Skills team is a small group dedicated to helping all students adjust to and succeed in their work at university. We advise undergraduates, postgraduates and staff members studying at Edinburgh Napier on a range of skills, such as:

  • – Planning and structuring essays and reports
  • – Reading, note-taking and paraphrasing
  • – Critiquing texts and developing written arguments
  • – Preparing for exams
  • – Tackling the various parts of dissertations and theses.

The team works with students and academics in order that the former are best equipped to succeed in their chosen discipline. For more detail regarding our services, visit our dedicated pages for students or teachers. Learn more about each of us below.

Claire, Team leader

Claire has had a (very) long and varied career in teaching, and has worked with students from primary school to post-graduate level. With a background in psychology, she is interested in understanding attitudes and approaches to learning in order to help students do their best. She came to Edinburgh Napier to do a Master’s as a mature student a number of years ago, and has never left, switching seamlessly from student to member of staff. Her interests outside of work include playing flute and piano pretty badly and going to concerts. She has recently become a yoga teacher, and is always looking to convert the uninitiated to the benefits of a downward-facing dog.


Linda came to be an academic and study skills adviser through her work as a researcher at Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Edinburgh. A Doctorate in Scottish Politics and Culture allowed her to develop her own research and writing skills, whereas her first degree – in interior Design – was taken after a career as a Graphic designer. So, as a student several times over, she knows how hard it is to juggle competing responsibilities, and offers guidance to those looking to improve their approach to these.


Angus first joined the Academic Skills team in 2013, having spent the previous three years working and studying in Washington, DC. After sampling other pastures and finding them less green, he joined the team on a permanent basis at the end of 2018. Angus works closely with Business School students and staff, though also spends much of his time writing online study resources and organising the university’s nascent peer learning programme. When not at Edinburgh Napier, he’s likely to be writing his PhD on W.G. Sebald, trying to grow things to eat (with mixed success), or exploring some of Edinburgh’s quieter corners.


Susie started her studies and career in journalism, going on to work for the BBC and The Scotsman newspaper. However, raising dyslexic children made her passionate about supporting people to fulfil their potential in education and beyond. Hence, she took a postgraduate qualification in careers guidance at Edinburgh Napier University, and has been a board member of Dyslexia Scotland for nearly ten years. Concurrently, she has been working as an Academic Skills adviser, whilst also offering career guidance outside of the university. Susie has a love of animals, and particularly hedgehogs and tortoises. Incidentally, she also loves good grammar.


Mel began her academic career in Sports Science and Sports Therapy, before putting this on hold to raise her own three children and foster several more! When her youngest started school, Mel returned to her studies, and so understands how difficult it is to juggle study with caring, as well as other commitments. Mel joined the team in 2012, and has since completed a postgraduate qualification in learning, teaching and assessment in higher education. She works mainly with Business School students and staff in her academic skills role. Mel also works with the Widening Participation and Disability & Inclusion teams. When she is not working, she is mainly trying to develop her teenagers’ independent living skills, but also loves to catch up with family and friends, and particularly when music events are involved. She also likes to go on long walks with her dog.


In addition to working with the team, Alessandro is a Marketing Management Lecturer, Online Tutor and Doctoral Candidate at the university. In his capacity as an Academic Skills Adviser, he covers mainly appointments and drop-in sessions, in which the focus tends to be on academic writing, critical thinking and structuring assessments. Alessandro loves travelling, learning about new cultures, and, as a proud Italian, cooking!


Tayo moved to Edinburgh in 2010 to study towards Masters and PhD qualifications in the Biological Sciences. Having completed his research in 2017, he worked in the School of Applied Sciences as a demonstrator and a student project adviser, before joining the Academic Skills team in 2018. Tayo also spent four years working in the medical and pharmaceuticals industry. Additionally, he has over 10 years of experience working as a customer service analyst in the banking industry. When he isn’t working, Tayo spends time with his wife, son and daughter.


Agata first joined the Academic Skills team in December of 2015. Born and bred in the south of Poland, she moved to Scotland in 2008 to pursue her passion for all things Celtic! Agata’s background is in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP), and she is particularly interested in helping international students to develop their academic and study skills in Scottish Higher Education. In collaboration with academic staff, she is currently developing and delivering integrated workshops for students on Psychology, Social Sciences, Criminology and Nursing programmes. Outside work she can be spotted capturing the beauty of land and city-scapes with her camera.