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

Communication and Language Services


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 Linda Bickham for presentation skills tutoring and feedback, or Jennifer Wolfeld for writing or English language tutoring.

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

ITA Testing and Required Support for TAs

All nonnative English speaking students who TA are required to take the International Teaching Assistant Test before they can TA. Those students who receive 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 offered several times each year on the Silicon Valley campus via remote connection to the Intercultural Communication Center in Pittsburgh. Contact Linda Bickham if you have questions about testing or to schedule a test. For information about the test, preparation, scoring, and required language support, see ICC's Overview of ITA Testing.

Planning to TA? As soon as you know, contact Linda if you need to test. If you've already tested and have a Restricted I or II score, contact Linda to set up your require language support.  Language support is provided as a combination of tutoring, workhshop attendance, and self-paced study.

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.