Capability in relation to academic writing, professional writing, and argumentation at HE level underpins academic attainment across all groups. Between 2010 and 2012 The Higher Education Academy (now AdvanceHE) funded a number of projects to explore DiSA (Disparities in Student Attainment). A number of these projects focused on challenges in academic writing, particularly developing and writing assignment briefs (staff) and decoding and responding to them (students). The University of Wolverhampton produced a “How to Guide: assignment brief writing” which is a useful example.

At Hallam we also recognise that students may need help to develop the craft of writing, and that staff may need support to write assignment briefs in ways which are universally accessible. Across the University staff are working with Karen Nicholls on the Academic Language and Literacies (ALL) project. ALL offers an embedded model of academic literacy development which begins with conversations between language and literacy experts and module leaders around academic language and literacy expectations  and ‘windows’ in which to develop students’ understanding of these expectations.

In addition, a number of departments have undertaken initiatives designed to support writing development. These are:

Academy of Sport and Physical Activity: Dissertation Writing Support Drop-in

Biosciences and Chemistry: Enhancing extended scientific writing skills

Education, Childhood and Inclusion: Enhancing extended scientific writing skills

Health & Wellbeing (Faculty-wide project): Academic integrity and academic conduct and the BAME attainment gap

Social Work, Social Care and Community Studies: Writing Skills Group

You can also read about and join the Developing Disciplinary Writing Communities Group, which part of the Hallam Guild.

A number of useful resources are noted below.  If you have a suggestion to add to the resources please email us.

Itua, I., Coffey, M., Merryweather, D., Norton, L., Foxcroft, A., (2014) Exploring barriers and solutions to academic writing: perspectives from students, higher education and further education tutors, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38:3, pp.305-326

Lea, M. R., & Street, B. V. (1998). Student writing in higher education: An academic literacies approach. Studies in higher education, 23(2), 157-172.

Wingate, U., (2015) Academic Literacy and Student Diversity – the case for inclusive practice, Bristol/Buffalo/Toronto: Multilingual Matters