Phoenix Project’s study skills boost

25 June 2015

Students at computer

Students at the University of Namibia (UNAM) will soon benefit from extra support during their studies thanks to one of Cardiff University's flagship engagement projects

Cardiff's Student Support and Wellbeing Service is teaming up with counterparts in Nambia to improve study skills among students as part of The Phoenix Project.

Ann McManus, who runs Cardiff's academic skills and student mentor schemes, is flying out to Namibia shortly to train more than 30 UNAM library staff.

The UNAM staff will then train their colleagues who will pass on their knowledge to students.

The study skills training will focus on academic writing, critical thinking, note taking, revision and exam techniques.

Then in September, Cardiff University library staff will be training UNAM counterparts in skills such as literature searching for research, cataloguing and e-learning.

They will also work on teaching skills with Dr Clare Kell's Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning team.

Support will be provided by Dr Alastair Sloan from the School of Dentistry, who is helping the development of basic research skills among UNAM students.

Ann said: "Staff at UNAM want to build on their skills portfolio, ensuring that all student-facing staff and all students across the University have the necessary skills to successfully complete their studies and to compete in the workforce.

"As library staff are usually those responding to student queries circulating around study skills, it was felt that they should receive training in the first instance.

"This can then be localised and cascaded amongst other members of library staff and then down to the students, thus creating a sustainable method which ensures that students are better equipped to complete their studies successfully."

There are also major benefits for staff at Cardiff University who will have a unique opportunity to work with colleagues from Namibia in their own professional field.

The Phoenix Project, which supports the Welsh Government's Wales for Africa programme, is a mutually beneficial collaboration between Cardiff University and UNAM.

Staff from Cardiff University's three Colleges are directly involved, as are professional services staff.

The project covers three broad areas: women, children and infectious diseases; science; and communication.

It is one of the University's flagship engagement projects, otherwise known as the Transforming Communities programme, which work with communities in Cardiff, Wales and beyond in areas including health, education and wellbeing.

This includes supporting Cardiff city-region, connecting communities through hyperlocal websites, building community engagement models in Cardiff and Merthyr, and working with the Welsh Government to help achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals.