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Respected academic to share her vision for higher learning


Friday 7 June 2013

Study skills textbooks written by respected academic Dr Stella Cottrell have sold all over the world.

The author of the Study Skills Handbook (SSH) and Director for Lifelong Learning at the University of Leeds will share her vision for higher learning at Glyndwr University on Monday June 17.

She will be keynote speaker at the free event, entitled ‘Looking Forward: Academic Study Skills in the 21st Century’.

Held at the Catrin Finch Centre, it will include seminars, break-out and advice sessions, student recruitment workshops and presentations.

In her speech, Dr Cottrell looks at changes in the study skills landscape and will address their impact on higher education in the future.

“Over the last decade there has been much greater recognition of the importance of study skills,” said Dr Cottrell, who authored a number of textbooks as part of the Palgrave Study Skills series. "Most universities and colleges now provide study skills in some form to their students.

“I have always thought that good, timely study skills provision is essential to enabling students to perform at their best – no matter what their level. That view hasn’t changed.

“I have very strong views about study skills, as you might imagine.”

She added: “Since the first edition of the SSH many years ago, I have a character in one of the illustrations who says “personalise it”.

“I find that the twin considerations of personalisation and context are key to effective study skills. From that, you can gather that I don’t buy in to a uniform approach.”

Dr Cottrell says she wrote the SSH, first published in 1999, in order to get across the message “directly to students” that they could succeed if the strategies and pace worked for them.

“It is lovely to see that so many people use my books now, at all levels, even PhD, and also around the world.

"I was surprised to meet groups of students even in Tashkent who were using it and who asked to meet me when I was in Central Asia for a British Council project. I found that quite humbling,” she said.

“At Glyndwr, I will be talking about study skills as a force for change. I believe that the delivery of study skills is just part of a much bigger picture about learning development.

"I think study skills practitioners have a vital role to play in developing the ways that institutions think about students and learning. I will look at some of the ways that that can be affected.

“I am also especially interested in the ‘continuities’ that we find in the whole area of ‘study skills’ provision and the keys that such continuities might hold to what study skills will look like into the future.”

Dr Cottrell added: “I am looking forward to the event at Glyndŵr. It sounds as though there will be a fantastic turnout, which is a credit to the organisers.

"I always find it inspiring to be amongst people who are dedicated to helping students to achieve. I imagine that there will be many such people in the audience. 

“I tend to select one or two such events a year for speaking engagements. Study skills practitioners are often relatively isolated in their institutions and it is evident that the conference at Glyndwr will be valued as a means of networking and gaining support and inspiration from others.”

Conference organiser and Academic Study Skills Tutor at Glyndwr University, Andrew Edwards, looks forward to welcoming Dr Cottrell to the Wrexham campus.

He said: “We are delighted that Dr Stella Cottrell will be attending our inaugural conference here at Glyndwr University and would like to thank her in advance for what promises to be a great presentation.”

For more information and to book your place, call 01978 293981 or visit the website:


Dr Stella Cottrell has worked for more than 25 years in educational development and widening participation and is a lifelong champion of study skills and student support. Her publications on academic skills, learning support and personal development have been adopted by HEIs and colleges in the UK and internationally and translated into over a dozen languages.

The best known are the Study Skills Handbook, now in its 4th edition,  Critical Thinking, and Skills for Success (on personal development and employability).

Stella is Chair of the Yorkshire and Humberside Access to HE committee, a Governor of Leeds College of Art, and chair of the HEFCE funded 'Maths Magic' project for maths support practitioners. She provided the training for British Council's Encouraging Independent Learning (ELA) project as part of its repositioning of provision in Central Asia.  In 2011, Stella was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bedfordshire for 'outstanding contribution to lifelong learning and widening participation'.

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