Writing Support for International Graduate Students: Enhancing Transition and Success (Hardback) book cover

Writing Support for International Graduate Students

Enhancing Transition and Success

By Shyam Sharma

© 2018 – Routledge

232 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138483415
pub: 2018-06-13
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Using qualitative data collected from twenty universities across the US, Writing Support for International Graduate Students describes and theorizes agency- and advocacy- driven practices, programs, and policies that are most effective in helping international students learn graduate-level writing and communication skills. It uses ​compelling narratives and cases to illustrate a variety of program models and support practices that fostered the students’ process of academic transition and success. Employing an ecological framework, the book seeks to advance academic conversation about how writing scholars/instructors and program administrators, as well as other academic service professionals working with this student body, can formulate policies, develop programs, and implement practices that best help these students grow as writers and scholars in their disciplines.


"Writing Support for International Graduate Students vividly captures the numerous challenges international graduate students are likely to encounter in the course of writing their way into the university, and provides an array of critical interventions faculty can call on to ease the transition." --Juan C. Guerra, University of Washington at Seattle

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

1.1 Study Design and Data Collection

1.2 Coding and Theming of Data

1.3 An Ecological Framework

International graduate students must explore a large, complex ecology of resources to learn how to write.

1.4 The Scholarly Context

Issues about international graduate students often call for the reset button.

1.5 Book Overview

2. Understanding Politics: Affecting Policy

2.1 The Politics of International Students

2.1.1 Empowering/Overpowering International Graduate Students

Students who feel powerless cannot learn and communicate new knowledge.

2.1.2 Why Pay Attention to Political Economy

Geopolitical forces shape international graduate students' experiences and needs.

2.1.3 Lessons from Other Places, Times

Similar places elsewhere, and the past, offer important lessons.

2.1.4 Turning Knowledge to Action

Understanding big-picture issues can help us counter their influences on academic support.

2.2 Polices, Ideologies, and Respnse

2.2.1 Ideologies Out There

There's an abundance of problematic assumptions about international graduate students.

2.2.2 Beliefs and Assumptions Among Students

Writing support should involve educating international graduate about writing.

2.2.3 Avoiding Ideological Traps

Established beliefs among writing professionals often aggravate challenges.

2.2.4 Conclusion: "Reflective Encounters"

A reflexive approach can help the most.

3. Shifting Focus: An Ecological Approach

3.1 Academic Transition and Learning to Write

Learning to write is a multidimensional process for international graduate students.

3.2 "Who? Me?" Diversity of International Students

International graduate students are not just ESL students.

3.3 Programs versus Ecology

Formal writing support programs are only a node in the network for international graduate students.

3.4 Conclusion: Rethinking Universal Design

Differentiated support is often necessary, as well as useful.

4. Fostering Agency through Effective Support Practices

4.1 Exploring New Communities

Writing support should facilitate socialization for international graduate students.

4.2 Finding a Voice

Graduate-level writing requires finding a voice that make sense in a new country and culture.

4.3 Writing Support and Professional Development

Professional communication support is particularly useful for international graduate students.

4.4 Hacking Support and Resources

International graduate students (must) use creative strategies to learn how to write.

4.5 Conclusion: Pedagogical Applications and Implications

Writing pedagogy and support practices must be designed to foster agency.

5. Advancing Advocacy through Programs and Leadership

5.1 Writing Support and/as Advocacy

Advocacy-driven writing support best help international graduate students.

5.2 Distributed Advocacy

Writing support should be part of the broader network of support and advocacy.

5.3 Students as Advocates

International graduate students' own advocacy and engagement are important resources.

5.4 Conclusion: Programmatic Applications and Implications

Writing professionals can provide leadership to academic support network and to their institutions.

6. Conclusion: Reflections on an Emerging Field

Writing support for international graduate students can be a catalyst for advancing the discipline.

About the Author

Shyam Sharma is a scholar of Writing and Rhetoric who teaches at State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA. His research and publications, which have appeared in flagship publication venues of Writing Studies, focus on writing in the disciplines, international students and education, cross-cultural rhetoric and communication, and professional writing.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Writing Studies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Administration / Higher
EDUCATION / Guidance & Orientation
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Composition & Creative Writing