Non-curricular postgraduate writing interventions at South African universities

01 Aug 2016

Formalised postgraduate writing support centres are a relatively new phenomenon at the majority of South African universities and have not yet been researched intensively. This article, which forms part of a mandated study, presents the findings of research into the nature of postgraduate writing support at a number of South African universities. In 2014, an external review into the throughput rate of undergraduate and postgraduate students at a particular South African residential university was conducted, which concluded that there was a need for more support for postgraduate students who were conducting research. (University X, 2014). Accordingly, a questionnaire was distributed to writing centres at various institutions across the country. This article describes practices relating to staffing, the availability of resources, as well as the positioning of postgraduate writing support within or separate to undergraduate writing centres. Additionally, findings are presented in terms of the different modes of delivery and the related research outputs. While this article provides an overview of current best practice at a number of university-based postgraduate writing centres, suggestions are also made concerning an ideal model for the foundation of such a writing centre at a large residential university.