I am Dr Mihai Balanescu and I founded this online consultancy in 2010, aiming to offer students a level of tailored advice simply unavailable at my, and most, universities.
Following a degree in English and American literature and a PhD in African-American literature in comparative contexts from the University of East Anglia in 2001, my specialism is in literary criticism, text analysis, semantics and semiotics.
Further, I gained TESOL accreditation (teaching English as second language) and a Certificate in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
These are, if you wish, my formal qualifications. They mean little compared to work and experience attained working with university students for some 20 years. Most of these, since 2006, I have spent at the University of Warwick where I created, and have led, the Academic Writing Programme since 2010, as well as the Academic Coaching provision for PGR students (both are university-wide programmes).
Personally, I advise in a 1-to-1 context around 120 students/year. The reason for these students reaching me is the type and level of difficulties they have which exceed the expertise available in their own departments. Of these, just under half are PhD students.
Around 80% of all students require help with academic writing in all aspects. It is, by far, the most demanded area of academic progression. It is also the most important.
Research students come with very complex problems, some (read many) related to supervision, some to research progress, some to thesis writing and some to life integration of PhD research and demands. Inadvertently, I might reflect, I have built a fond encyclopaedia of PhD life issues for which I have developed a certain level of knowledge and method in order to successfully assist students. This method combines, in a very unique way, academic writing and research expertise with counselling (person-centred).
Sophia Libris gives me freedom.
Freedom to address university difficulties for the direct benefit of students without formal constraints. It also gives students the same. Many of these difficulties are, in truth, university-induced or generated, either through department mentality/ethics or postgraduate supervision. It would take me this entire page to list the instances of students asking me (repeatedly) to “not tell my department, please”.
There is no hard sell of services here, may I assure you. I simply do not need to, nor do I have a motivation in/from.
In any case, I really am at peace to say that I have not had yet a case of student whose problem I haven’t been able to address, here, or at university. Do I resolve my students’ issues? Not always. I enable them to resolve them themselves. And, that, I submit, is the greater thing to do for anyone in difficulty.
Thank you for reading this and thank you for your interest in Sophia Libris.