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5 questions for the new director at the Unit for Academic Language

News: Mar 06, 2017

Ann-Marie Eriksson is the new director of the Unit for Academic Language (ASK) for Rhonwen Bowen who is retiring. Ann-Marie took office February 1, 2017, but has been acting as director since August 1, 2015.

Who are you and which are your main fields of interest?
- I have worked in many areas related to writing processes and education for a long time and in many different settings. Whether it’s about working with teachers who wish to design or reorganize a particular assignment, or meeting students and guiding them in their writing, I feel that you almost always end up in engaging conversations in which the individual is in focus. I believe in the combination of personal commitment, education, knowledge and empathy.

I was born and raised in the Sjuhärad area but nowadays I live in Bohuslän. Upon completion of the teacher-training programme for upper-secondary school teachers at Linköping University, I worked for a few years at Östrabo upper secondary, where, among other things, I was head of Swedish. So, Uddevalla was the place where I first set foot on Bohuslän soil. In the late 90s I transferred to Chalmers to focus on technical writing and communication in engineering education. This was an important period that also made me curious about academia. When I got the opportunity, I didn’t hesitate to take on a PhD project with the CUL graduate school and in 2014 I received my PhD in the field of Educational Sciences. I was recruited to ASK in 2015.

How come you applied for this position - and why do you think you got it?
- Because units like ASK are hugely important! My broad experience in education, technical communication, and academic writing combined with research in areas relevant to ASK's core operations.

How do you intend to develop ASK?
- ASK is at an expanding stage right now, which places high demands on everyone involved. We started by gathering and organizing the various resources for writing and language development for students; resources which have been running for a long time here at the University of Gothenburg. The next step is about creating long term strategies for how our resources can be designed to become significant and useful for the university as a whole. A key component is the development of ASK's role as a pedagogical partner. This could, for example, concern teachers' professional development and integrated collaboration with courses and education programmes. Based on the fact that writing and language development is closely connected to learning processes, ASK also plays an important role in the university’s work with internationalization and inclusive studies. As one of several key players at the University of Gothenburg, the unit needs to develop in relation to both its internal and external environment. Internationally, similar units and departments have been established for a long time and there is extensive scientific knowledge to build from.

Why should the teachers and staff care about what ASK does?
- Because ASK offers the opportunity to strengthen their students’ education and university experience! Many teachers get in touch because they feel that their students lack an adequate academic language. When we discuss their concerns and thoughts, based on research in areas like academic writing, tutoring, writing skills, Swedish, Swedish as a second language, or English, we can help teachers to specify what "academic language" might mean and how it can be made visible to their students. This helps teachers better to organize, for instance, writing assignments.

You have already worked at ASK for 18 months. Is there anything in particular you feel especially proud of regarding your work so far?
- I feel proud of and take great joy in many things! It's terrific to be involved in establishing an organization such as a unit for academic language, which has the opportunity to be of great significance.

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Page Manager: Webbredaktionen|Last update: 2/7/2017
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