The Faculty of Health Sciences Writing Lab Celebrates their Launch
The FHS Writing Lab, which provides specialist writing support for Health Sciences staff and students, celebrated its official launch on Thursday 19 May. The launch, which forms part of the Health Sciences month-long Language Festival, is just one of the ways in which the faculty is showcasing their constructive engagement with language and inclusivity.The event was well-attended by Deans, HOD’s and unit heads across both CHED and the Health Sciences. Professor Madiba, acting Dean of CHED, spoke of his engagement with the name ’Writing Lab’ as one which conjured images of creativity and innovation. A reaction well in alignment with the Writing Lab’s ethos to provide a collaborative space where staff and students can brainstorm and discuss ideas and challenges with a consultant who is both a trained writing specialist and a postgraduate science student themselves.
The Writing Lab, which has been running for a little over a year, has already presented 62 workshops to over 2000 students and 150 staff members and over 600 individual consultations. According to Dr Natashia Muna, the Writing Lab coordinator, “Writing is a fundamental means of communication within the sciences. Whether you are an undergraduate writing an essay, a postgrad working on your thesis or a staff member preparing a publication, your success critically hinges on your ability to write well within the discipline.” The Writing Lab consultants are specifically selected based on their science background, which gives them the technical knowledge to access science writing with ease and understanding, while their specialised training allows them to identify writing challenges, and teach practical ways to overcome them.
As a CHED Teaching Development Grant initiative, the Writing Lab exists as a unit within the Academic Development Programme’s Language Development Group, but functionally sits within the newly-formed Department of Health Science Education. This dualistic existence is a wonderful example of the strength to be drawn from cross-faculty engagement towards promotion and support of effective teaching and learning, with the shared goal of student success and transformation.
The Writing Lab is located in room 53-27 on E Floor in the Old Main Building at Groote Schuur. Their services included individual consultations, small group consultations, online consultations (distance-based learners only), customised workshops (by request only) and downloadable resources. All of their services are free to UCT staff and students and you can read more about them, how to make a booking or download resources at http://www.writingcentre.uct.ac.za/about/healthsciences
Story by Natashia Muna
Photos by Jaquelyne Kwenda