Communications Programs and Resources-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Communication and Language Services

Overview

The Communication and Language Services Office at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley is your resource for information and learning opportunities to improve your English skills and hone your presentation and writing skills through workshops, one-with-one tutoring, and self-paced materials.

Some of our workshops are designed for nonnative English speaking students, some for all students. Tutoring services are available to everyone — use this when you want help on a specific presentation or paper, or want guidance on improving your English language skills. 

We also offer a six-week intensive summer program for entering nonnative English speaking students, the Academic Culture and Communcation Program. For nonnative speakers who plan to TA, we set up International Teaching Assistant (ITA) tests, and provide any required language support for TAs.

Workshops and Seminars

Each semester, CLS offers workshops in the areas of presentation skills, writing, and pronunciation. Some workshops are one-time sessions, others go for 2–6 sessions. Watch for email announcements at the beginning of the semester and again after mid-semester break.

Tutoring Services

Individual tutoring appointments are available to all students. Contact us for an individual session if you:

  • Have an individual or team presentation and want some feedback on organization or delivery
  • Would like feedback on making a writing assignment clear, concise, and well organized
  • Have specific concerns about presenting and would like to practice techniques for addressing your concerns
  • Want an assessment and guidance on improving your English language skills

Contact Jennifer Wolfeld with questions about any of the services.

Global Communication Center

CMU-SV students may also use the tutoring services available at the main campus through the Global Communication Center (GCC).

College of Engineering students who are unable to attend face-to-face appointments at the Pittsburgh campus may schedule an email appointment. Students using our email service will be sent a screen-capture video containing a tutor’s feedback within 24 hours of their appointment time. Email appointments are available on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

ITA Testing and Required Support for TAs

All nonnative English speaking students who TA are required to take the International Teaching Assisstant Test before they can TA.  Those students receiving a restricted I or II score are required to receive 15 hours of language support in any semester in which they TA. ITA tests are conducted on the Silicon Valley campus via remote connection to the Intercultural Communication Center (ICC) on the Pittsburgh campus.

Testing is usually scheduled through the department for which you will TA once you have secured a TA position. Your department contacts the ICC, and ICC staff will contact you about a testing day and time. For information about the test, test preparation, scoring, and required language support, see ICC's Overview of ITA Testing.

Doing Your Required Language Support:  It is your responsibility to make sure you are doing the required support. CLS staff will contact you at the beginning of the semester in which you TA to explain the options:  a combination of workshops, self-paced work, and tutoring. If you have questions about this, contact Jennifer Wolfeld.

Self-Paced Materials, Handouts, and Useful Links

Resources include DVDs and books available from the CLS, links to videos and handouts, online learning resources, resources for presenters, and useful info for ECE Ph.D. students. See the list of resources that are available.

Pittsburgh Campus Resources

If you are spending a semester or more in Pittsburgh, you can make use of these resources:


Academic Culture and Communication Summer Program

Academic Culture and Communication at Silicon Valley (ACC-SV) is an intensive six-week summer program designed for nonnative English speakers entering Carnegie Mellon University graduate programs each Fall. It is based on the ACC program offered in Pittsburgh through the ICC.