This is not remedial work. Few prospective students would understand the difference between a Dean and Sub-dean, or the differences between the disciplinary cultures of Law and Anthropology.
Few undergraduates would understand how to produce a briefing paper, or Physics portfolio the first time they were asked to do so, quite apart from knowing how a Law tort paper or laboratory report would differ from an essay.
Even though some students might know such things, in order to produce high quality work they can benefit from knowing how tertiary expectations differ from senior high school expectations. While many know they need to ‘work harder’, few know how to work smarter.
Equally, few postgraduates – the first time they do so – would understand how writing a journal article differs from thesis writing; the steps and intentions involved in constructing a persuasive research proposal; how to master the disciplinary language, the processes involved in seeking to change supervisors and so on. Thus, students need to be inducted into and have modelled for them, the academic skills, cultures, purposes and conventions of tertiary academic work.
Our primary role therefore is to assist students to understand the cultures, purposes and conventions of different academic genres and practices. In this respect, our work is developmental, not remedial. We don’t ‘fix’ problems – rather, we teach students the strategies and skills with which they can achieve the outcomes to which they aspire.