2021-12-24 [News] To Build a Bilingual University of the Future, NTNU Establishes the Center for Academic Literacy

The Ministry of Education has been diligent in its implementation of the Program on Bilingual Education for Students in College (BEST), which aims to develop Taiwan into a bilingual nation by 2030; National Taiwan Normal University was selected to be one of the priority universities to develop and offer bilingual education. To earn the rank of a top bilingual university, NTNU has been encouraging the use of English as the medium of instruction (EMI) and established the Center for Academic Literacy (CAL) in 2021 to prepare students for these EMI courses by enhancing their academic English writing and speaking skills.

Writing centers, or centers for academic writing, have been around for years in Western countries as a part of student learning support programs. Some of the top-notch universities in Taiwan have also set up similar programs and started offering consultations on English writing and study skills.

Dr. Posen Liao, Director of the CAL said, “We have invested a significant amount of manpower and resources in this Center to provide students with our quality services and help them enhance their academic English proficiency although the CAL was established a little later than other universities.” Dr. Liao added that the CAL’s one-on-one writing tutoring service has surpassed similar services in other universities in Taiwan by offering more tutoring sessions, shorter booking windows, simpler booking processes, and more tutors with a wider variety of specializations.

Furthermore, the graduate students who are recruited to be the tutors have diverse cultural backgrounds with many having lived in the US, Australia, the Netherlands, and/or Vietnam. All of the tutors possess advanced skills in English writing and speaking, have cross-disciplinary knowledge and have academic publications in various fields, including education, computer science, business management, international relations, comparative literature, linguistics, psychology, medicine, sports science, and music. Thus, the tutors can offer comprehensive cross-cultural and cross-departmental knowledge when becoming language partners with their peers, while also developing their academic English skills.

The CAL will begin one-on-one academic English writing online tutoring on December 20th, and the tutors will work with their peers to resolve difficulties in writing English papers, reports, or compositions. In the days to come, the CAL will offer more services, such as in-person tutoring on academic writing and oral communication, academic English workshops, and credit courses. The CAL will also open a self-learning space for students to read academic writing books and use academic English online resources and materials.

The CAL has already launched both its website (https://www.cal.ntnu.edu.tw/) and Facebook fan page (https://www.facebook.com/ntnucal). Students are encouraged to visit the website to book a writing tutoring session, draw on the learning resources, and learn about the latest activities. The CAL hopes that through participating in their academic English writing and speaking activities, students will become young talents with international mobility.

Dr. Liao gave opening remarks at the Tutor Training Workshop.
Dr. Christine Chang, Postdoctoral Fellow at the CAL, gave a talk on the CAL’s values and missions, tutoring procedures, evaluation, and writing tutoring techniques.
The tutor training workshop adopted a hybrid, online-offline, model and featured Dr. Shao-wei Huang, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Buffalo in the Department of English in New York State, to give a keynote speech and share his experiences as a writing tutor.
Group photo of Dr. Liao, Dr. Chang, and writing tutors.
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