Centre for Academic Support and Employability
The Centre for Academic Support and Employability (CASE) provides help for students at all levels in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science with their studies in the following areas:
- Researching and presenting
- Structuring and editing traditional academic writing
- Structuring and editing multimedia texts
Specialist workshops including activities for career development and employability are offered each semester.
All students within the Faculty are encouraged to get as much help as possible with their academic work from CASE. Results show that students who use the centre are significantly more likely to complete their degree. As they are better equipped to act on feedback, they also tend to do better in their studies.
The Centre aims to cultivate critical thinking, awareness of presentation and organisational skills and, perhaps most importantly, to nurture students' oral confidence.
Simon Lambe, CASE advisor:
"Since January, I have noticed a drastic improvement in the written and oral communication skills of those students who attend drop-ins and workshops regularly.
I have witnessed first-hand the benefits of peer mentoring. At a recent event for postgraduate students, I was involved in an interaction with a mature student who was struggling to construct an answer to an essay question which confronted him. From the training I received during my CASE induction, I was able to use a 'swimming pool' analogy to assist learning (the introduction being the diving board, the content the water and the conclusion being the steps out of the pool). This technique helped me to express a technical message through simple means. It was not long before the penny dropped. At the end, the student's departing remark rang in my ears, 'it makes such a difference when someone else reads it'."
The Faculty has a specialist Employability Coordinator who works in partnership with CASE to ensure that students are able to identify and develop employability skills. Studying non-vocational subjects can make it hard to narrow down a clear direction so she can also help to identify strengths, areas for development and potential career opportunities. Throughout the academic year the following activities will take place:
- Workshops and seminars covering all aspects of the recruitment process, from CV's to interviews
- Employer events; giving students a chance to network and gain a stronger understanding of the 'world of work'
- Drop-in appointments; for queries regarding career direction or any aspects of employability
CASE is staffed by a team of selected and trained student undergraduates, postgraduates and academic tutors.
As one student, speaking of her advice session in CASE said, "You know that they are not going to judge you, they have been there themselves and can explain in a way that you will understand."
Anthony May worked at CASE:
"I got involved with the CASE scheme because it is a good supplement to my teaching experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the English department. Working at CASE means focusing closely on the core skills that all students need and as a result my own work, both as a student and a tutor, has improved. I now have a great deal of experience working on a wide range of issues related to academic writing and therefore I can offer practical help to anybody who visits the Centre, as well as the students that I teach.
I enjoy being able to assist students with their work and it is very gratifying to hear that you have been helpful. I have found that the processes involved in a CASE consultation are very useful in nearly every situation – attention to detail, empathy and a helpful attitude are always good skills to have to hand. Future employers will be able to see that I have dedicated time to honing the skills that any academic needs and therefore working at CASE is very useful to me as I take the early steps in my chosen career."
Clare took advantage of what CASE has to offer students:
"In the first year, going to see a CASE advisor was a requirement for passing some of the modules. I was reluctant at first, believing that I didn't need any extra help – I had always achieved As and Bs in sixth form, so why would it be any different at university?
When I received my grades at the end of the semester, I was surprised to see that my highest grades were in the essays I'd taken to an advisor, and the modules I hadn't received CASE feedback for were littered with very similar comments from my tutors, '...doesn't flow naturally... disjointed argument... very good ideas but unclear thought process...' As well as these problems, I found that in my proofreading sessions, I had missed silly spelling mistakes and my grammar and presentational was not consistent throughout.
After this experience, it became clear to me that CASE was an invaluable asset and that in order to achieve my full potential, I had to take advantage of it while I could. For the next two and half years I took every essay and portfolio to CASE. Even when I felt I had produced a quality essay, I would always set aside an hour to see an advisor so that they could check my referencing and presentation.
In the third year, I found myself struggling to construct sound arguments in my essays. In these instances, I took an essay back to CASE maybe twice or three times. Each time I would come away with a renewed enthusiasm for the topic. I would redraft and revisit the Centre until I was completely satisfied I couldn't make it any better. My final results are a testament to the benefits of using CASE – I finished university with a high First class degree, and all of my grades in the final year were A's! "
Jonny Steen worked in the Centre for Academic Skills and Employability and won an award from the Academic Development Centre for his contribution to the scheme:
"Working at CASE, I spend a lot of time explaining written work – how to write an essay, how not to write an essay – so I naturally developed a greater understanding of academic writing which I was able to apply to my own coursework. The contact time I had with students was limited, therefore my recognition of quality and intuition of language use improved very quickly. This has proved to be a transferable skill which has helped me produce quality work in short periods of time. My grades have improved, as well as helping the people I see in CASE.
In terms of employability, it has definitely broadened my options post-graduation. I am leaving university now, not only with a First Class degree with Honours but with relevant teaching experience and an open mind.
I am currently working at the headquarters of the Liberal Democrats, and feel that my experiences with CASE have fully prepared me for this challenge."
Location and opening hours
CASE is located in room T703, Tower Block Building, Penrhyn Road campus.
Opening hours (during term-time) are:
- Monday-Thursday: 10:00-17:00
- Friday: 10:00-15:00