Karen Smith

Karen Smith

Senior Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes & Study Skills

Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)

Harris Building, HA111

+44 (0) 1772 89 3146

Subject Areas: Education, English and Linguistics, Languages and International Studies

Karen is Co-ordinator of the WISER team, responsible for supporting student academic development across the University.

Wiser Website

Full Profile

Karen joined UCLan in 2008, having previously taught English as a foreign language and delivered teacher training in Portugal, New Zealand and in UK summer schools. She also taught ESOL & Literacy in the Further Education sector.  Her present role at UCLan is two-fold:  co-ordinating the work of WISER which focusses on developing students’ academic literacy and other related study skills, within the wider remit of the Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, whose focus is inclusive teaching, curriculum review and academic development.   

  • DELTA, International Teaching & Training Centre, Bournemouth, 2006
  • Maîtrise Français Langue Etrangère, Université Lumière Lyon 2, 1996
  • P.G.C.E. Modern Languages, Lancaster University, 1996
  • B.A. (Hons.) European Languages, University of Wales Aberystwyth, 1995


Smith, K. (2016). How spiky can a spiky profile be? In T. Pattison (Ed.) IATEFL 2015 Manchester Conference Selections (pp.190-192). Faversham, Kent: IATEFL

Jones, C., Lees, M., Donohue, N., & Smith, K. (2015). Teaching spoken English at junior high school: A comparison of TPR & PPP. The Language Teacher, 39 (1), 3-9.


Karen is primarily interested in teaching practices, improving learning and teaching, as well as developing students’ critical thinking and expression skills, with a particular focus on the development of skilled written communication.


Her role in WISER is to facilitate the development of essential critical thinking and communication skills for academic life and future employability of both native and non-native speakers of English.  She runs academic writing workshops across the University and provides 1-to-1 feedback on students’ assignments.  She also delivers academic development for teaching staff through the Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching as well as mentoring colleagues seeking professional recognition with the HEA..


She is currently investigating uneven competency in the four skills of language through a study of English for Academic Purposes students in the UK Higher Education context.  This is with a view to defining what is meant by a ‘spiky profile’ and then developing targeted instruction to combat this.


  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


  • BALEAP Bristol, April 2017: “Uneven language proficiency”
  • Virtual Academic Library of the North West (VALNOW), May 2015: “WISER: walk-in study enhancement & review”
  • IATEFL Manchester April 2015: “How spiky can a spiky profile be?”