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 all aspects of university study and writing. The team also works with academics to develop guidance tailored to particular disciplines and cohorts of students. For more detail regarding our services, visit our dedicated pages for students or teachers. Learn more about each of us below.
Claire, Team Manager
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.
Born in London, Magdalena (“Magi”) recently returned to the UK after 13 years of living, working and studying in Australia. Having originally trained and worked as a dance and exercise teacher, she went on to gain undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Exercise Science and Education, as well as a host of other qualifications. She has developed, lectured, taught, and tutored courses in a variety of subjects, including Academic Skills, Human Biology, Neuroscience, Exercise Psychology, IELTS, and General, Cambridge and Academic English. When not at work, Magi can be found sharing joy and laughter with her daughter, friends, and cat.
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.
Ben trained as a musician, and has had a wide and varied professional music career. He has performed at home and abroad in a variety of ensembles and genres, from symphony orchestras through to jazz, hip-hop, and traditional folk music. He has also for many years taught instrumental music in primary and secondary schools. Ben has continued to study part-time while working full-time, gaining a degree in education studies, a postgraduate diploma in music teaching, and is currently working towards a PhD in distance learning. He is experienced in academic publishing, both as an editor and an author. Ben enjoys keeping fit, and, given half a chance, will jump into any nearby open water!