Meet our team series
Welcome to the Writing Centre’s Specialists blog series: Meet YorkU’s Writing Centre Team. Over the next few months, we will be highlighting some of the writing experts and specialists at the Writing Centre so you can get to know them better and see how they support students at the Writing Centre!
As part of the Writing Centre’s Specialists blog series, today’s blog post will be highlighting the Writing Centre’s Learning Commons representative, Professor Marlene Bernholtz!
The Learning Commons partners include the Libraries, Learning Skills Services, the ESL Open Learning Centre, and Career Education and Development—all organizations devoted to student success inside and outside the classroom.
As a Writing professor, Professor Bernholtz’s interests are in building supportive communities of learners to ensure positive affect in the classroom, and in integrating academic literacies (e.g., critical thinking, research skills, discourse conventions) into her teaching of organizational communication theory and practice.
For many years, Professor Bernholtz has worked in the Writing Centre, and participated in its student-centred approach to content-based writing instruction, where the students can find and develop their academic voice as they carve their space in the university community. She brings the knowledge and experience she’s gained to her role as Learning Commons representative.
As Professor Bernholtz explains, her position
brings the Writing Centre front and centre into the whole York community, where it can influence and help faculty, students, and administration.
That’s the role of each representative from other partners as well. We get together and collaborate so that we’re sharing our skills to create something bigger for students that encompasses all of those skills and provides the students with strategies and techniques and tips that address all those different areas.
In the Learning Commons, students can expect to find resources that touch on a variety of topics that can range anywhere from skills & career development to ESL learning to writing & research strategies. Some of the available resources are Becoming YU, SPARK, the Student Guide to Group Work, Learning Skills workshops, YU Got This events, the Experiential Education (EE) symposium, and many more!
The relationship between the Writing Centre and its other Learning Commons partners is mutually beneficial. With a room filled with experts from diverse backgrounds, it’s easy for everyone to learn from each other and gain new perspectives.
“You learn a lot from the partners about how they do things and how they think about things.” Professor Bernholtz added, “many of the strategies and ideas that I have been able to bring into the Writing Centre, both for my students and shared with my colleagues, have come from the Learning Commons.”
Professor Bernholtz dedicates her time to supporting students this way and also through her own teaching, where she is always conscious of her students’ well-being.
It’s become a very strong focus for me to make sure I’m watching and making myself aware of what’s going on for the student not just in terms of the paper itself, but in terms of what they are experiencing in the room and in their life because obviously, those things come into a room whether it’s a Zoom room or any other room.
As a result, Professor Bernholtz’s care for students show in the ways she dedicates her efforts to supporting the York Community—with her help, students benefit from a broad range of tools and workshops to help them become better writers, and the Writing Centre benefits by working with other partners!