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How the Centre Operates

About Writing Centre

Student Consultations

  • The Writing Centre is staffed by part-time post-graduate students from a range of disciplines who have undergone intensive training.
  • The service maintains a policy of voluntary usage. This means that students may be referred to the Writing Centre, but not compelled to make use of it.
  • The philosophy of the student consultancy is that all students can improve their writing, whether they are highly experienced academic writers or complete novices.
  • The consultations are designed to be learning experiences, not an editing service.
  • It is preferred that students make appointments to see consultants to ensure that they will be assisted.
  • The average consultation lasts 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Post-graduates need to drop off their writing before the consultation (no more than 15 pages at a time).

Before a consultation

In order to get the most out of a consultation, we advise students to set a rough agenda. Students can do this by:

  • bringing assignment-specific information provided by their departments, such as assignment topics and requirements, and guidelines for writing, to the consultation;
  • marking unclear sections of a written draft that can be discussed during the consultation;
  • outlining the objectives and organisation of an assignment.

During a consultation

Students can visit us at any stage of the writing process, but are encouraged to come as early as possible. The Writing Centre can assist with:

  • identifying the requirements of an assignment
  • understanding how to use readings
  • sorting out ideas
  • planning, organising and structuring assignments
  • clarifying grammar, spelling and referencing
  • revising drafts

Departmental Consultancy

The Writing Centre and the Language Development Group work with teaching staff in academic departments so as to make writing instruction an explicit, integrated component of course curricula. We see opportunities to work with academic teaching staff as crucial to the overall success of the project. So far the Writing Centre has collaborated with academic departments in the following:

  • feedback to the department from student consultations about the difficulties students experienced with particular assignments, and suggestions for tackling these difficulties
  • curriculum development initiatives
  • improved task design and assessment procedures for assignments
  • development of innovative forms of student writing to suit particular needs in a discipline
  • design and delivery of writing workshops for students

Research

The Writing Centre feeds into Language Development Research around issues of student writing; curriculum development; assessment; and the enhancement of higher education processes.