SCUPI Writing Center
The mission of the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute (SCUPI) Writing Center is to assist undergraduate and graduate writers in the Sichuan University community to become more proficient communicators in English. The SCUPI Writing Center accomplishes this mission by housing the English Writing Program and oversees undergraduate curriculum of course offerings and tutorials in writing modeled on the University of Pittsburgh Writing Program. In addition, the SCUPI Writing Center offers academic support through one-on-one or small group writing consultation sessions for all language-related issues and for all classes.
At the SCUPI Writing Center we hold that writing is an indispensable means of communication as well as a powerful mode for creating new ideas. Writing well will not only lead to success in university, but to success in life. We believe that through practice, collaborative interaction, and attention to process writers can achieve their goals. Due to our unique situation in an English Medium of Instruction (EMI) institution, the SCUPI Writing Center understands the needs of ESL writers and is committed to whole-language solutions to language acquisition for assist in the improvement of written communication. The service that the SCUPI Writing Center provides, reflects SCUPI’s dedication to excellence in higher education and outstanding achievement in teaching and research.
As academic support SCUPI Writing Center offers:
- Well-trained staff of Consultants who can work with students in one-on-one or small group sessions
- Instructors with ESL training to lead credit-bearing tutorial sessions
- Workshops on different aspects of research and writing open to the entire Sichuan University community
- Facilities for writing one-on-one and small group writing consulting sessions, as well as credit-bearing tutorial sessions
- On-line reference materials for self-directed learning
- A resource center for writing, testing, and other English-language study materials
- Support for continual training and professional development of Writing Center Consultants
SCUPI and ST(R3)EAM Education
Recently there has been a global push for STEM education as a way of preparing students for the job market, for the challenges of the technological age, and for meeting their nations’ needs to innovate and develop strategic advantages. The “E” in STEM, “Engineering,” requires not just technical competence, but also critical and creative thinking for solving problems and designing solutions. Because of the value that the Arts bring to these kinds of skill sets (Steve Jobs course on calligraphy which introduced him to typefaces and aesthetic principles is an example), many educational institutions from elementary through graduate schools have included the study of art, to create STEAM out of STEM. “Arts” traditionally meant creative, manufacturing skills that described an artisan’s (as opposed to the artist’s) knowledge. The Humanities and Social Sciences program at SCUPI recognizes this trend, and in addition to offering courses in the Arts, (and by extension Humanities, and Social Sciences), stresses the need for what it calls STR3EAM: wRiting, Rhetoric, and Representation. SCUPI Writing Center provides strategic communication, developing with skills that allow them to write across different media and genres, develop their rhetorical awareness of the texts that they produce or consume, and creatively represent ideas while at the same time critically analyzing representations in terms of the realities that they substitute.
The Writing Center will use the word “consultant” to refer to the facilitator of the one-on-one or small group sessions. Consultants will fall into five categories:
- Director and Admin Assistant
- Writing Program professors/Instructors
- Full-/Part-time consultants
- Volunteer instructors and professors
- Student volunteer “peer” consultants
SCUPI Writing Center Facilities
The Writing Center consists of two meeting rooms on the first floor of the SCUPI Building, Zone 4 with space for four concurrent sessions, and small group meetings. The SCUPI Writing Center will have a multi-media station for digital projects.
SCUPI Writing Center Consulting Sessions
The Writing Center offers 30-minute consultation sessions to the SCU community. Students can make appointments via an online appointment system or by dropping in, individually or in small groups. Students can sign up for two sessions per week, not including their ENG 151 tutorial. Additional sessions can be granted with the agreement of the Writing Center director. Normal sessions will be based on staff and peer consulting where student writing and goals are the focus. These sessions will help students identify global- and sentence-level issues in student writing with an emphasis on writing as a process. Students can also attend consultations to prepare presentations, digital compositions, review course readings, or practice their oral English. While support and feedback are offered during the consultation, the SCUPI Writing Center does not edit or proofread student papers, but rather helps to provide students with resources and skills to improve their own writing.
SCUPI English Writing Program Curriculum
The English Writing Program curriculum consists of two courses and one tutorial designed to build students competencies in: grammatical, discursive, and communicative language use; analytical writing, argumentation; multi-modal composition; information literacy; media literacy; and research writing skills. These competencies will be developed over a two-course sequence and students will be required to take a Writing Center tutorial during their first semester.
SCUPI English Writing Program courses are process-based and student-centered that employ an active learning pedagogy to enable students to write fluently and accurately across professional, academic, and personal genres, and to use writing as a form of expression as well as a mode of thinking and problem solving.
The Writing Center currently offers three courses:
- ENG152 Expository, Analytical, and Argumentative Writing: 3 credits
- ENG200 Research Writing and Information Literacy: 3 credits (ENG152 prerequisite)
- ENG151 Writing Tutorial: 1 credit
ENGCMP 151 Writing and Language Tutorial:
This one-credit course is a tutorial designed to give writing instruction to students as individuals or in small groups. The tutorial sessions are designed to offer support and guidance on student writing and language needs. The course will provide students with personalized feedback on student writing in addition to coaching students on metacognitive writing skills, and self-directed learning, as well as guiding students through their writing process, helping them to identify global and sentence-level issues by sharing strategies for editing and proofreading. Students’ tutorial credit will receive the grade assigned to their ENGCMP152 course by that course’s instructor.
ENG152 Expository, Analytical, and Argumentative Writing:
ENGCMP 152 provides students with preparation for academic and professional writing, including a foundation in rhetoric, argumentation, composition, and style. Students will become familiar with planning, drafting, editing, and revising their academic writing with attention to audience, purpose, and genre. Students will also receive training in critical reading skills for academic purposes. Students will use creative and critical thinking skills such that their writing will serve as a mode of communication, persuasion, and problem solving that will in turn develop students’ analytical and argumentative skills to achieve academic, professional, and personal goals. The course will allow students to identify their individual writing processes, to work collaboratively, and to use multi-modal forms of academic expression. To this end, students will write essays, feedback reports, reflective writing, and routine journaling in addition to working on at least one collaborative project that includes written, oral, visual, and electronic components.
ENG200 Research Writing and Information Literacy
This course builds on ENG152 by focusing on research writing and information literacy. In this course students will gain exposure to academic writing, learn to synthesize research sources, employ proper conventions of citation, write using professional and academic genres, use digital tools for researching secondary sources, and deliver academic presentations. The course stresses active learning, collaborative projects, multi-modal communications, academic reading, and student-led research to answer questions and solve problems. Through the successful completion of the course students will be able to formulate research questions, create a research plan, write a proposal, synthesize information, and draft a research paper.
Once at full capacity the SCUPI English Writing Program, will offer upper-level writing courses in Technical and Professional Writing, as well as work with engineering faculty to create writing in the discipline (WID) courses that will allow students to earn credits in the SCUPI English Writing Program.
The SCUPI Humanities and Social Sciences Program (HSS) currently offers three writing-intensive courses (Film Analysis, Science Fiction, Media Criticism, and World Literature in Translation), which reinforce student advanced writing skills. HSS will continue to expand its writing-intensive course offerings.
SCUPI English Writing Program Course Sequence
Students are given a placement test upon entry into the writing program. The test is a diagnostic essay test that is scored on an 8-point rubric. Based on their score, students will be placed in one of three levels for the introductory ENG 152 course. Students taking ENG 152 will be required to also enroll in ENG151 tutorial. Successful completion of ENG151 and ENG152 will allow students to enroll in ENG200.
The ENG151 will guide students through the writing process for each assignment, and will address ESL issues that students face in addition to writing. The consulting sessions will allow students to develop confidence in meeting with their instructors, as well as coach them about how to ask questions and participate in class discussions.
SCUPI English Writing Program Assessment Scheme
All students will take an entrance placement exam, and an exit exam to assess program quality. All sections of ENG152 will have a final portfolio consisting of three essays. All sections of ENG200 will have a final research report. All teachers will have to save and submit these final assignments to the program at the end of the year. The portfolio and research report will be assessed using a standard rubric based on course syllabus outcomes at the end of the first year for annual program assessment.
The placement test scores, course grade, annual program assessment scores, and exit exam scores will be listed for each student and reviewed to evaluate overall program effectiveness, achievement of course outcomes, and language development.