How managers influence learning advisers’ communications with lecturers and students


Learning Advisors (LAs) are uniquely well-placed to discover what lies behind students' difficulties with reading and writing for their discipline subjects, and these insights have driven their efforts since the 1990s to establish collaborations with discipline lecturers in order to develop academic literacies within their subjects. To determine the effects of university management decisions on LAs’ ability to communicate with students and discipline lecturers so as to fulfil these goals, Academic Language and Learning (ALL) advisors across the Australian higher education community were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey of six questions relating to how their management encourages or discourages collaboration across the university. Our research questions asked how respondents have experienced effects of management decisions, whether helpful or obstructive, in relation to their communications with students and lecturers. The survey findings indicate that most ALL staff have been encouraged to collaborate with students and discipline lecturers but that the support from management to facilitate this teamwork was mixed. The reasons cited were incompetency and micromanagement, ongoing re-structures, poor location of services, lack of understanding of the nature of ALL work, and lack of priority for collaborative processes. The results indicate that ALL support could be more effectively located and integrated into university systems, preferably with managers recruited from ALL backgrounds, in order to enable and sustain a virtuous circle of communication with students and lecturers.

Author Biography

Sally Ann Ashton-Hay, Southern Cross University

Sally Ashton-Hay is a Lecturer (Teaching Scholar) in the Office of the Vice President (Students) at Southern Cross University. She enjoys assisting students with learning strategies for more successful study, team teaching across disciplines and embedding academic skills in the curriculum. Her broad range of teaching experience covers academic writing, English language arts, English as an Additional Language, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Indigenous learners, literacy skills, drama, poetry and literature as well as conducting teacher training internationally. Sally has previously worked as a Senior English Language Fellow sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in Turkey and is a registered English Language Specialist with the U.S. Department of State.

How to Cite
Ashton-HayS. A., & ChanockK. (2023). How managers influence learning advisers’ communications with lecturers and students. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 17(1), 40-68. Retrieved from
Research Articles