Writing workshop to improve staff academic writing

Dr Bryant, third from right, front row, with staff that attended the workshop

To increase their chances of doing better in their studies, and to publish in academic journals, 19 MUT staff attended a writing workshop facilitated by the University’s Writing Centre, from 24-26 February 2021.

This workshop was an eye opener for staff, some of whom had never been exposed to research and writing for publication training.

Staff got a chance to engage with Dr Katie Bryant, the facilitator, and talked about their challenges. The workshop also gave staff the opportunity to work with each other, and share ideas. This sharing of ideas will form the basis for future collaboration.

Dr Bryant’s mission is to form a scholarly writing community. This will also deal with the isolating nature of academic writing. Dr Bryant, an Adjunct Professor from the University of Ottawa, Canada, said she would follow through after the workshop. “I will support the groups regularly to ensure that they are able to progress with their research writing goals,” she said. Dr Bryant stated that appropriate mentorship was necessary for staff. This was part of what Dr Bryant did while she was with the University of Botswana, where she was also researching the reasons for low research output in African countries.

Throughout the week, Dr Bryant gave a lot of advice to staff derived from her own experience as a researcher and an academic. One of the advices to the attendees was that they needed to write every day, and also have weekly or bi-weekly writing sessions, and have writing coaching sessions. “You need to submit your draft, and receive feedback on your writing. You must also become rhetorically savvy; be able to determine your research community and how your findings will contribute to the current conversations taking place in this community,” said Dr Bryant. Dr Bryant also advised the attendees that it was important to know a lot about the journals they were intending to publish so that they would be clear about how to write for those journals. “You must stay clear from predatory journals. First check if the journal you would like to publish your work in is approved by the right bodies,” said Dr Bryant. This warning was also sounded by the Research Professor in the Faculty of Management Sciences, Sam Lubbe, who gave a presentation during the first day of the workshop.