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Learning Skills and Academic Writing Specialists

The faculty Learning Skills Specialist and Academic Writing Specialist aim to help FBE researchers communicate with clarity, professionalism and grace in an academic setting. We equip HDR candidates and MRes students with skills needed to produce the PhD thesis, and will hone the academic literacy skills of persons who wish to extend their research and publishing track record.

The Learning Skills Specialist and Academic Writing Specialist provide training and feedback in the preparation of documents such as

  • Research proposals
  • Oral presentations
  • Grant applications
  • Journal articles
  • Conference papers
  • Ethics applications
  • PhD Theses
  • Book chapters
  • CVs

The FBE Learning Skills Specialist is Dr Florence Chiew The FBE Academic Writing Specialists are a team of PhD-qualified experts. In order to book an appointment for the first time, please send an email with this request. There are also many workshops for PhD candidates available


fbe toggle icon more How to make a request

To seek feedback or assistance from the Learning Skills Specialist or the Academic Writing Specialist, please email the FBE HDR Office, doing the following:

  • introduce yourself (are you, an HDR candidate, and at what stage; or are you academic staff)
  • explain the kind of help you're after (eg. the document / presentation you're working on)
  • give us your time frame.

For written documents, we'll ask you to send the relevant document through. What the Academic Writing Specialist will send back is a review, highlighting issues and patterns of strength and weakness; they will use track changes in MS Word to make indicative edits and comments on five to ten pages of your document.

For oral presentations, the Learning Skills Specialist can provide a 'dry run' session and feedback on your slides.

groups toggle icon more Writing groups

The Learning Skills Specialist coordinates writing groups, ie small groups of researchers who meet regularly to receive and share feedback on their writing, and to get tips from the writing specialists. Joining a writing group is a great way to advance your writing education and build on what you learn from us in workshops or one on one. 

Contact the Learning Skills Specialist to see if there's an existing group you might join, or to set up a new group.

workshops toggle icon more Workshops and Seminars

The Learning Skills Specialist is running series of occasional workshops, covering subjects across the writing range, from grammar basics and composition to good academic style and punctuation.

copy toggle icon more Copy editing

Getting to the end of a thesis, or even a paper or article, demands a lot of thinking and researching, planning and structuring and writing; it's hard to do it all and leave enough time and brain space to ensure the finished piece of writing is as finished as it should be. There's no shame in enlisting some editorial help; in fact it's a good idea. The best writers in the world have their writing copyedited and proofed, and the writing benefits. Copyediting is sophisticated and labour-intensive work, and it isn't the brief of the FBE Learning Skills or Academic Writing Specilalists. But talk with your supervisor about the possibility of having your papers, articles or thesis copy edited.

All PhD and MPhil candidates have $1200 to spend on copyediting of their papers or thesis. More information on finding and hiring a copyeditor.

philo toggle icon more The LLS and AWS philosophy

Every scholar, every university researcher, is, among other things, a writer; in the end, every research project must find its way into words—into a conference paper, a journal article, a grant application, a thesis. And it helps if the words make sense—in particular, the sense the researcher meant them to make. Better still if it makes sense briefly and quickly. Elegantly. Even beautifully.

Every reader—yes, even your examiners and peers—will thank you for writing soundly, plainly and coherently, at least; engagingly and vividly, at best.

But let's be honest: not all of us write equally well; most of us could do with a little help. They haven't taught much grammar, style and composition at school, for one thing; if they did, some of us weren't listening as hard as we might have. And then, the academic world places particular demands on us.

Recognising all this, the faculty employs a team to help develop the writing skills of junior FBE researchers—HDR candidates and MRes students. 

Writing is a life skill, and it remains a core skill for academics long after they've hung their testamur on the wall. So, though we work closely on researchers' writing, Learning Skills and Academic Writing Specialists are not copyeditors, and our mission isn't to edit researchers' prose—theses, proposals, papers, book chapters, whatever—into a state of perfection. We're not here to fix your documents—we're here to help you fix them, now and into the future. We aim to develop your academic writing skills; we hope to turn good researchers into better writers. And we do this by offering targeted, real time guidance to researchers as they write. It's our hope that, beyond getting you across the line come submission time, we reveal enough of the inner life of sentences, paragraphs and papers, to set researchers up for a lifetime learning to write better and better academic, and perhaps other, prose.