Academic advisors as agents of change in collaborations with faculty based staff

  • Tahereh Khollas Pourshafie Flinders University
  • Kathleen Brady Flinders University
Keywords: interdisciplinary collaboration, academic advisors, whole-of-university approaches


An examination of the literature indicates that in order to meet the needs of students and enable optimum student learning, collaborative interdisciplinary initiatives that foster collegial trust and encourage joint ownership are essential. In this paper we will reflectively analyse a Flinders University experience that involved collaboratively developing and delivering a course to build commencing students’ capacity to succeed in a university environment by addressing their academic literacy and professional communication skills. This initiative comprised incorporating a credit-bearing topic, jointly planned and taught by the Student Learning Centre and the English Department, into a range of undergraduate courses at Flinders University. In this paper we will consider what the literature can reveal about collaborations that involve academic learning units and other faculties. We will explore the primary attitudes, knowledge and skills required to form successful strategic partnerships that will ultimately lead to student success. The significance of unity of vision will be highlighted, along with the imperative for an understanding and appreciation of what relevant expertise each party can bring to the collaboration, in order to create the spaces for action, reflection and consultation to affect pedagogical transformation. The reality of what transpired at Flinders University was however, another matter. Through reflectively analysing our flawed experience, we will conclude this paper by offering a range of key suggestions that can be taken from our experience designed to guide other academic learning units and faculties as they embark on collaborative approaches to addressing student learning needs.

Author Biographies

Tahereh Khollas Pourshafie, Flinders University
Lecturer at Student Learning Centre
Kathleen Brady, Flinders University
Head Student Learning Centre
How to Cite
PourshafieT. K., & BradyK. (2013). Academic advisors as agents of change in collaborations with faculty based staff. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 7(2), A165-A174. Retrieved from