Academic Advantage in Residence

Academic in Residence (AiR)

Our AiR - a university Ph.D student who lives in residence - is committed to improving the academic skills of University of Alberta residents. Whether it's receiving guidance for an academic problem or a casual dinner in the cafeteria, you can learn to be more comfortable with the university system. At the same time, it enables faculty to get a good feel for the many pressures and demands that students experience.

Raiany Dias de Andrade Silva lives in Lister Centre; you may find Raiany speaking at your floor meeting or sitting next to you in the cafeteria. You can also set up a meeting with the Academic in Residence to discuss your academics. Whether you're looking for advice about applying for professional programs or tips for successful studying, Raiany will do her best to help. Working out of the Academic Resource Centre in Lister Centre, she can also connect you to other excellent on-campus resources. Feel free to drop in during her office hours!

Additionally, Raiany oversees the Lister Peer Tutor program. The Peer Tutors are upper-year students who excelled in certain classes in their first year who can share tips and tools with you regarding those classes. Be on the lookout for their weekly tutoring times.

To make an appointment, email the Academic in Residence at
Raiany also has office hours each week. These are posted at the Academic Resource Centre.

Irish Scholar in Residence

Barra Ó Scannláin is our 2019-2020 Irish Scholar in Residence. Barra lives in Lister Centre and teaches in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies. You can set up a meeting with Barra to discuss your academics, study tips, or the transition to university. Barra’s office hours are posted at the Academic Resource Centre each semester.

Peer Tutor Program

The Peer Tutor program is a great resource for residents. All tutors are students just like you who have already mastered the content of their courses. They're familiar with the challenges you're facing and are happy to share tips & tools with you, giving you an advantage in your studies!

Weekly peer tutoring sessions each week are posted throughout Lister Centre and at the Academic Resource Centre.

Residence Orientation

During the first six weeks after residents move in, many specialized programming opportunities are offered. These programs allow students to learn about the university experience and develop the skills that they will need to be successful.

We Focus On: What this Means for You:
Community: Promoting an engaged and supportive living environment You meet residents with similar interests - and residents who will make sure that you're awake in time for your midterms!
Academics: Encourage and strengthen academic skills and goals Helps you avoid midterm panic by teaching you the academic skills that you need BEFORE it's crunch time.
Safety and Wellness: Foster respectful, healthy and safe behaviours Contributes to clean and comfortable common spaces where you and your friends can cook, study and hang out.
Personal Development: Cultivate social communication and leadership skills You learn the personal skills you'll need to excel as a student...and develop a great resume for after graduation.

An academic advantage is one of the many reasons to live in residence. There are countless programs and services available to set you up for academic success. From our Faculty in Residence to the Lister Peer Tutor Program, there is a resource for all of your academic needs!


Residence Life is dedicated to providing students with an environment that is conducive to learning and academic success. That’s why we have an Academic Initiatives team that coordinates and oversees various academic programs for students living in residence communities. The Academic Initiatives team is composed of the Residence Coordinator, Transitions and Academic Initiatives, the Academic Initiatives Intern, and all the staff who make academic programs in residence possible.


Scroll down for information about each specific Academic Initiatives program that is offered in residence.

Faculty in Residence

The Faculty in Residence (FIR) is a faculty member who teaches at the University of Alberta and lives in East Campus Village. The FIR interacts regularly with residents, especially those who live in Nîpisîy House, Peter Lougheed Hall, Aspen/Maple House, and Pinecrest/Tamarack House. Our current FIR is Moin Yahya, who teaches in the Faculty of Law and has been our FIR on and off since 2007. Moin works to enhance students’ academic success and personal development by running academic programs and providing students with informal academic counselling.


Are you looking for informal academic counselling in East Campus Village?

Book a meeting with Moin if you:

  • Want to learn more about postgraduate programs like Medicine or Law
  • Need studying or time management tips
  • Need help making a presentation or writing a term paper
  • Need help putting together a CV, resume or cover letter
  • Need help with a thesis or research project

You can visit Moin’s office in Nîpisîy House or email him at

Academic in Residence

The Academic in Residence (AIR) is a PhD student who studies at the University of Alberta and lives in Lister Centre. Our current AIR is Raiany Dias de Andrade Silva, who is a PhD student in the Faculty of ALES. Raiany works to enhance students’ academic success and personal development by working together with the Head Peer Tutors to oversee and promote the Peer Tutor program in Lister, and by providing students with informal academic counselling.


Are you looking for informal academic counselling in Lister?

Book a meeting with Raiany if you:

  • Need advice about transitioning into university or living in residence as an international student
  • Want to learn more about getting into grad school
  • Need help making a presentation or writing a term paper
  • Need help putting together a CV, resume or cover letter

Raiany also supervises the Peer Tutors. For informal academic counselling and/or questions about the Peer Tutor Program, stop by Raiany’s office in Lister during her office hours or email her at


The Irish Scholar in Residence is an instructor at the university who also lives in residence. This year’s Irish Scholar is Brigita Gallagher, who will be living in residence and joins us from the Modern Languages department. Aside from teaching classes on campus, Brigita will be hosting programs and events to showcase Irish language and culture.


Brigita, or Gita as she’s better known, comes to us from Cork, Ireland. She holds a BA International degree in Irish and French and a M.Ed. with focused research in Student Wellbeing and Second Language Acquisition from University College Cork. While at UCC, Brigita was awarded Onóir na Gaeilge for her contribution to the Irish language. After university, Brigita was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach the Irish language and take classes at Elms College in Massachusetts. During her time in the United States, Brigita founded social society Conradh na Gaeilge Iarthar Massachusetts where students and language enthusiasts could come to practice their Irish language skills. In working with the New Irish Language Society, Irish Cultural Center of Western New England and Elms College she has designed and hosted many cultural workshops, courses and events.

Having never been to Canada before this, Brigita is excited to explore her new surroundings and culture. If you would like to meet with Brigita, email her at


The Peer Tutor Program is a great academic resource for residents. Peer Tutors are upper year students who have already mastered the content of their courses. They're familiar with the challenges you're facing and are happy to share tips and tools with you, giving you an advantage in your studies!

Students in residence can receive free course-specific tutoring from a peer tutor by attending a weekly drop-in tutoring session in Lister Centre. Visit the Peer Tutor Program webpage to see the full program schedule, including which peer tutors are available for each session and which courses they can tutor.

If you attend a drop-in tutoring session, a peer tutor will work with you 1-1 to help you do one or more of the following:

  • Assess your understanding of course material and improve comprehension, retention, and/or the application of content
  • Assess the effectiveness of your current study skills/habits and develop alternative study strategies if needed
  • Reflect on your personal learning style and adapt your study skills/habits to meet your specific needs

Interested in becoming a Peer Tutor?

Volunteering as a Peer Tutor in Residence is a great way to get involved in the residence community and gain valuable mentorship skills. Visit Jobs in Residence for more information about the Peer Tutor position and to apply!



One way residents can give themselves an academic advantage in residence is by participating in a faculty-specific community. Faculty-specific communities give students the unique opportunity to connect with other students in their area of study and engage in collaborative learning. Residence offers location-based faculty floors and non-location-based academic cohorts.

For more information about our Faculty-specific communities, visit Cohorts, Faculty Floors and Lifestyle Communities.


Besides the various programs mentioned above, the Academic Initiatives team also runs events and activities throughout the year to support student success. One major event that occurs every Winter term is WINter! WINter is a 3-week-long program that focuses on 3 different areas of success: personal, career, and academic success.

Past WINter events have included a Working in Residence Peer Panel, a “What’s Your Learning Style” program, and personal success programs on the themes of belonging and personal values. By participating in WINter events and activities, students can do the following to further their personal growth and develop skills for success:

  • Identify their core values and assess how their personal, career, and academic pursuits align with these values
  • Generate their own definition of success and develop the competence and confidence to work towards this success

This year, WINter will take place from mid-January to early February 2023. The WINter 2023 schedule will be posted on Expedition:Connect, our Residence Instagram page, and posters in residence.



Academic All-Stars is a Residence-wide program that allows students to be recognized for demonstrating dedication to academic excellence. Through the monthly Academic All-Stars draw, students can receive a prize that provides an additional learning opportunity in academic success, career/future planning, mental health/wellness, and/or connecting with the greater Edmonton community. Past prizes have included Whyte Ave gift card packages, final exams survival kits, and self-love starter kits.

Residents can enter in the Academic All-Stars draw by submitting their excellent grades of A-, A, A+ or 80% or higher up to 3 times in one month. Additional ways to be entered in the monthly draw include accessing academic resources like the Faculty and Academic in Residence or the Peer Tutor Program, participating in Academic Initiatives programs in residence, and answering the Question of the Month during Bonus Entry Week.

Ready to enter? View the Academic All-Stars self-submission form.