Chris Cummins is the course organiser for LEL 1A and also teaches Statistics and Experimental Design, Psycholinguistics, and Pragmatics.
What are you up to at the moment?
I was just going to read the LEL1A midterm essays. It’s a stylistically interesting mix: some people have decided to jump right into things, while others have decided to position their answers to the question in a broader context, sometimes an extremely broad context, the whole of linguistics in some cases.
There’s one I’ve seen that presents everything in the form of a Socratic dialogue. I haven’t looked at it properly, but I’d be interested in knowing what the tutor makes of it. I mean, it’s a dialogue between the student and the tutor, who is named. I don’t know if they know that the tutor is going to be marking it.
What led you to get involved with the writing centre?
I thought it was a good idea that there should be some supportive but non-legislative guidance. I thought that a bit of advice from people who have marked a lot of essays but probably have written a few essays of that type might not come amiss. Whereas medical doctors, presumably, have to treat a lot of conditions for which they have never been in the first-person perspective, we all of us have a first-person perspective to bring to bear on what it’s like to write essays as well as to mark them.
What was your experience like as an undergraduate? Did you enjoy writing?
Starting this month, we’ll be hosting a series of workshops developed and delivered by Anne Donnelly, the Academic Support Librarian for the School of PPLS.Her job is to support both staff and students with everything related to the library. I sat down with her last week to talk about her role within PPLS and some of the ways in which she can help students to do their research more effectively.
Could you tell me a bit about what Academic Support Librarians do?
Essentially, I try to make sure that the library does what it says on the tin for the School I support, namely PPLS. My role is really just about trying to resolve any issues with library services for students or staff. I also act as the School’s advocate in that I will represent any issues they have to the library on their behalf. I’ll also certainly explain to the School any library policies regarding the services and resources we provide for them.