Kairos 17.3


The University of Sydney attracts a truly diverse student cohort. The Writing Hub has established itself as a place for writers of all abilities to work together to improve the way writing is experienced at university. To further this goal, we have developed Student Writing Fellowships that bring diverse students together to learn from each other about writing in a multimodal world.

At the end of each year, students who have both achieved excellent grades in WRIT courses and displayed interpersonal skills suitable for teaching and mentoring are invited to become Student Writing Fellows. Over a period of six months, these students participate in a series of extra-curricular workshops on peer tutoring, which incorporate readings from scholarly literature on peer tutoring, a combination of reflective and real world writing tasks, and simulated peer writing consultations.

Once Student Writing Fellows have completed the training workshops, they act as peer writing mentors for 1-2 hours per week during drop-in sessions that are available for undergraduate students enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences or enrolled in a WRIT course. Students are encouraged to visit the Writing Hub to work on writing at any stage of the writing process, from initial thoughts to polished drafts. Using various strategies of conversation and writing advice grounded in the scholarship of rhetoric/composition, Student Writing Fellows help students develop their ability to adapt their writing to the range of contexts and modalities encountered at university.

In addition to peer tutoring, Student Writing Fellows also engage in a range of professional activities, from internships with media companies to magazine and web writing. Such activities reinforce the Writing Hub’s critical loop: Real world writing situations inform the advice Student Writing Fellows provide to their peers; rhetorical strategies learnt at university are tested and adjusted in professional settings; and students get to provide feedback to teachers and peers about their preparedness for professional communication.

In many ways, the Student Writing Fellows have come to embody the core values of the Writing Hub. They are agents of multimodality—they use conversation to discover features of their rhetorical contexts, and they collaborate to develop solutions to the challenges of communication, both at university and in professional situations.