For Faculty and Staff
The SASC comprises many unique programs that each provide a different kind of specialized support. We provide the following to faculty and department administrators:
Informational Presentations on Student Support Services
Typically, instructors find that an overview of all SASC programs and resources is most beneficial to their students.
- Topics include:
- Informational Presentation on Student Support Services
- Overview of Learning Support services for improving skills like time management, stress management, and work-life balance
- Overview of Communication Support services for improving written, visual, and oral communication skills (for both native and non-native English speakers)
- Overview of Disability Resources support available for students who need accommodations for a disability
- Overview of Language Support services for non-native English speakers and international students
Instructors who would like their students to seek support in a specific area may want to request one of the other workshop options.
Academic Coaching WorkshopsThese workshops help students improve their time management, productive habits, organization, stress management, and study skills.
Communication Support Workshops
These workshops teach communication skills and rhetorical strategies for a variety of genres and situations, including writing skills, presentation skills and slide design, data visualization, team projects, and research papers. We work with faculty to
- Conduct writing or communication workshops in your class, including workshop on team communication
- Prepare tailored, online content (videos, Canvas modules) for your class or assignment
- Facilitate student peer review sessions
- Assist with integrating communication instruction into your class, including providing advice on assignment design
- Offer other advice, services, and feedback as needed
Many of these workshops were developed by Joanna Wolfe who is known internationally for her research and teaching materials on STEM communication and teamwork. Instructors who have partnered with our Communication Support program have seen improvements as much a 1.5 letter grades in their students' writing and presentations compared to students in previous semesters.
Additional Communication Support Resources
Suggested Language for Referencing Communication Support on Your Syllabus
For assistance in writing papers and reports, designing PowerPoint slides, creating scientific posters, or opportunities to rehearse your oral presentation, visit the Student Academic Success Center. Tutors can provide instruction on communicating in professional and academic contexts and can give you feedback on your drafts. You can make appointments directly on their website: https://www.cmu.edu/student-success. This service is available to both native and non-native English speakers.
Our Philosophy on Grammar
Faculty often refer students to the Communication Support program to focus on grammar and correctness. However, our philosophy is that students will be better served if we focus on making sure their ideas, arguments, and research contributions are clearly explained. Sometimes this involves grammatical issues, but often it is a matter of understanding the conventions and principles of academic writing. We believe that focusing on such learnable principles will make a greater impact on students' writing than focusing on correctness. The English language is extremely complex, and many rules can only be acquired through repeated practice and years of immersion in the culture – not a 50-minute session! Thus, editing for minor grammar errors, which do not interfere with reader comprehension, is not as fundamental as revising the logic and clarity of the text.
The SASC Communication Support program can be a resource for helping students gain grammatical knowledge. We advise students to make several sessions so they can first resolve any underlying issues, then address sentence level issues. Please do not assume that your students will come away from a single session with a perfect or grammatically flawless paper!
These workshops, held outside of class, are one-time subject-specific sessions designed to build skills and reinforce course concepts (e.g., "Vectors in Physics"). The Student Academic Success team is available to partner with instructors to identify specific skills or concepts that would benefit from supplemental offerings.
Language Support Workshops
These workshops give non-native English speakers and international students the opportunity to develop and practice English language and cross-cultural skills.
Language and Cross-cultural Resources
These handouts provide information for graduate departments on a variety of issues related to international students and language assessment.
- 2020-2021 Language Proficiency Score Guidance for Departments [pdf]
- What to do when accent problems are hard to correct [pdf]
- When fluency is stronger than grammar [pdf]
- Using Audiojournals to Exercise Spoken English [pdf]
- Tips for Responding in Oral Qualifiers & Defenses [pdf]