The Writing and Language Skills Centre

The Writing and Language Skills Centre launched in September 2018 as part of the ASO’s Learning Enhancement (LE) team. It incorporates the former Writing Centre and some of the provision previously delivered by the Centre for English Language Teaching (CELT).

The Writing and Language Skills Centre has a team of experienced staff and graduate teaching assistants. We help all students (undergraduate and postgraduate) to meet the demands of their studies by building academic confidence and skills and by encouraging active engagement with the learning community and degree programmes. This is achieved by:

  • working with departments to address specific cohort needs through bespoke, timetabled provision;
  • offering courses and interactive workshop series to address common skill areas;
  • offering all students a neutral space where they can refine their language and academic writing skills on a one-to-one basis through drop-in and appointment (link);
  • utilising a growing suite of online resources to support campus-based and distance students 24/7. 

We will undertake ongoing evaluation of services and discussion with departments to explore possibilities for future development and provision by the Centre.

Note: part of the former CELT portfolio involved delivering pre-sessional courses. Provision at this level has transferred to the IPC with effect from 2018-19.

Students as active learners

The Centre will not provide generic advice to individuals or ‘teach’ students about writing in the abstract. Students will be expected to come to drop-ins or appointments with their work in hand and with specific questions to ask. All students will be expected to contribute as much to their consultations, in terms of discussion and effort, as the writing tutor. This approach will be taken in order to allow the students to develop their style and gradually achieve their own excellence in writing.

Disciplines

The Centre will provide advice on effective written communication to students from all disciplines. However, the writing tutors will not be experts in every discipline or every topic area, therefore students who raise issues related to content will always be referred to their department. Writing Tutors will receive regular training, for which we would be grateful if academic colleagues could provide the Centre examples of students' writing for training purposes.

Signposting

The Centre will work in conjunction and communication with other central support teams including the Academic Liaison Librarians, the Researcher Development Team, Disability Services and the Maths Skills Centre. Students will be directed to other relevant services where necessary.

Referrals

In cases where very specific problems have been identified with a student’s work, colleagues in departments will be able to refer students to the Centre for an appointment with a member of the Learning Enhancement team.  Information regarding the issues to be addressed, the support already provided by the department and a specific contact for communication will be required to make such a referral.

Evaluation and reporting

The Centre will report to University Teaching Committee on a regular basis.  Evaluation of Writing Centre activities will include data on student numbers accessing the Centre (collated by year / department / frequency of visit), any common themes for support that have been identified and qualitative data concerning student, Writing Tutor, Learning Enhancement staff and department evaluations. 

Contact

The Writing and Language Skills Centre

Victoria Jack
The Writing and Language Skills Centre Manager

writing-centre@york.ac.uk
01904 32 4935