Partnerships for student success: Integrated development of academic and information literacies across disciplines

  • Beverley Anne Kokkinn University of South Australia
  • Cathy Mahar University of South Australia
Keywords: academic literacies, information literacies, model of integrated learning support


Many students commencing study at university are faced with expectations very different from their previous educational experiences, particularly in relation to academic and information literacies. In response to these widely recognised challenges associated with the first year experience, learning advisers and librarians develop extra-curricular activities and resources that support students to understand and meet the expectations. Although the activities are often presented in separate classes by learning advisers and librarians, academic and information literacies are intrinsically connected and students benefit from understanding the close connection between researching and writing assignments. With this connection in mind, a number of models of learning support have emerged over the last decade bringing together the knowledge and skills of learning advisers and academic librarians. Most of these integrated learning support models share two elements: firstly, a focus on generic skills development like search strategies and essay writing; and secondly, a move to co-locate staff into the same unit like the university library. In contrast, a three-way collaborative model for developing academic and information literacies is possible – one that develops the literacies seamlessly but is tailored to specific disciplinary expectations in a range of courses across disciplines; and one that does not require the co-location of learning advisers and librarians. This paper discusses current models of support in Australia for developing academic and information literacies and details the three-way collaborative model. It argues for integrated support through collaboration that is discipline specific.

Author Biographies

Beverley Anne Kokkinn, University of South Australia
Learning Adviser (EAL and International students), Learning & Teaching Unit, UniSA
Cathy Mahar, University of South Australia
Academic Librarian (Division of Health Sciences).
How to Cite
KokkinnB. A., & MaharC. (2011). Partnerships for student success: Integrated development of academic and information literacies across disciplines. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 5(2), A118-A130. Retrieved from