Academic Writing Talks and Events

Irina Korotkina is an experienced EAP/ESP teacher and researcher with over 70 publications, nine of which are books. Her main interests include ESAP course design and academic writing in both English and Russian. She started teaching writing in English in 1998, and pioneered the development of academic writing in Russian ten years later, introducing the terms ‘академическое письмо’ (academic writing) and ‘академическая грамотность’ (academic literacy) into the Russian educational discourse in her dissertation.

Further study in theory and practice of academic writing has recently evolved into her manual Академическое письмо: процесс, продукт и практика (Academic Writing: Process, product and practice), Moscow: Urait, 2015. Irina Korotkina gives public lectures, workshops and conference presentations on academic writing across Russia; she conceived and organized three round tables: on academic writing and literacy at the HSE (2011) and the RANEPA and MSSES (2013), and on writing centers at the HSE (2016). In 2016, Irina has conducted research in international academic writing teaching models and their applicability in the RF for the Russian Government and the RANEPA. She actively promotes research in the field and collaborates with the academic journal Higher Education in Russia, maintaining the rubric ‘Academic Writing and Research Competences’ and enhancing EAP teachers to contribute to the discussion. She also collaborates with the Academic Writing Centers at the HSE and MISiS, giving seminars for researchers. Irina Korotkina is also known as the author of ESAP courses, two of which, English for Public Policy, Administration and Management (Moscow: Urait, 2015) and Academic Vocabulary for Social Sciences (Moscow: HSE Publishing House, 2016) have been published as coursebooks with methodological support for teachers. She co-authored the collective monograph «Обучение чтению на иностранном языке в современном университете: теория и практика» (StPetersburg: Zlatoust, 2016), presenting the MSSES approach to ESAP course design. Her other interests include New Literacy Studies, philosophy of education and digital teaching technologies.


Assessing Academic Writing: 100-score scale in 3D literacy model

Assessing students’ papers is the job no teacher enjoys. The variety of mistakes is nearly as wide as the variety of students’ identities and embraces multiple levels of metalingustic and linguistic competences. However, papers ought to be assessed objectively, and the marks should be clear and transparent. As academic writing is developed through discussions and revisions, current assignments are normally marked on the minimal scale (the so called ‘minimalist’ approach), whereas final papers need detailed evaluation (the ‘maximalist’ approach). 

In the latter, the teacher must be ready to explain why the mark is, for instance, 79 and not 81, and in which position the points could be arguable. The 100-score assessment scale based on Bill Green’s 3D literacy model was designed by the author to meet the needs of both teachers and students. Being conveniently and explicitly presented in the three dimensions of the model, cultural, operational and critical, the scale can be easily narrowed to the minimal marking and gradually extended through practice, peer-review activities and self-assessment, until each criterion is understood by students and anticipated in their final papers. The scale was successfully approbated in both English and Russian, and utilized by the author in her book Academic Writing: Process, product and practice (in Russian, 2015), which has been successfully used in 47 universities across Russia.

Elena Bazanova, PhD in Education, Director of Academic Writing Office at the National University of Research and Technology “MISiS”.

Over the past ten years, Elena has specialized in the sphere of teaching English for Specific Academic Purposes. Elena is the author of the COURSERA Specialization English for Research Publication Purposes, which contains four MOOCs: Academic Literacy, Scholarly Communication, Grant Proposal, and Technical Writing.

Dr Bazanova is the author of about 40 publications, including 17 coursebooks, among which there is a two-volume English language book Breakthrough that won the All-Russia competition in the nomination: “The best TESOL textbook for nonlinguistic universities.” Elena is a member of International Association of Writing Centers (USA) and the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing (EATAW). Elena Bazanova is an alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program “Developing Academic Writing Centers,” USA, 2016. In 2017, she successfully completed Business Rhetoric course at Harvard University.

Finding your voice as a research writer

One of the questions early-career researchers ask is how they can find or develop their voice as a writer. In research writing, it is important not only to present ideas, facts, and conclusions but to also have a point of view or stance. The workshop offers several concrete suggestions to help research writers achieve this goal. In addition, the workshop focuses on strategies for avoiding academese or researchese to make scholarly publications more accessible to an international audience.

Svetlana Suchkova, Ph.D., associate professor, a teacher of English, teacher trainer, and Cambridge ESOL examiner. She works for Higher School of Economics, Moscow, as Academic Writing Center director. She has widely published in the field of ELT methodology. She authored and co-authored a number of EFL course books for Russian university students and academics. She has participated in numerous national and international conferences with presentations and workshops. She is a member of the Management Board of the Russian Writing Centers Consortium.

Using self-editing strategies for better writing

All tertiary level teachers face the pressure to publish the results of their research in international peer-reviewed journals. This university demand places a heavy burden on writers whose academic writing skills are not developed enough.

They do need assistance, but the most effective investment of time deems to be the investment into self-development.

The workshop aims to invite participants to try editing strategies while working on research papers. The presenter will introduce some editing strategies and encourage the participant to improve samples of research writing. The workshop is going to be interactive and practice-based.

 Irina Titarenko has been involved in teacher development and TEFL consultancy for over 20 years as a teacher trainer, materials designer, online moderator and project manager. She worked with the British Council Russia from 1996 till 2007 leading on a range of projects in ELT, Arts, Science and Education. In 2009 she was headhunted to take the position of Deputy Director Projects & Innovations in the School of Philology and Language Communication in Siberian Federal University, where she worked until recently being in charge for ELT strategy and staff professional development. Irina is currently acting as a freelance ELT consultant, researcher and teacher trainer. Her professional interests are ranged around digital and blended learning, CLIL, EAP and ESAP. Irina holds MA in Applied Linguistics for English Language Teaching from Lancaster University, UK

Bridging the Gap between Academic Cultures

Introduction of Academic English into University postgraduate curriculum has revealed a range of problems linked to the cultural issues that block or diminish language proficiency growth. The speaker will share her experience of teaching English for Academic Writing and Public Speaking in Siberian Federal University and propose her view on how this academic culture gap can be narrowed down.   In this workshop, the speaker will present a range of culture-related problems occurring in an EAP class and will then consider practical examples on how to repair them. 

This will be done along the lines of (1) differentiating between written and spoken academic discourse; (2) featuring types of discourse and their purposes; (3) mastering academic language proficiency and interpersonal communication. Thus, typical problems that Russian students experience in academic writing are mainly related to the level of directness, author’s visibility or message delivery, etc. as they are solved differently in different academic cultures and require the input bigger than just language. The speaker will propose techniques and activities proved to be efficient in teaching students to transfer a ‘text’ from language to language, from discourse to discourse, accommodating it in line with academic and cultural conventions.

Ashley Squires holds a PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin and serves as Assistant Professor of Humanities and Director of the Writing and Communication Center at the New Economic School.

Writing Center Professionalization in the United States and in Russia: How Do We Learn from Our Histories?

Professionalization is the process by which an occupation becomes a sovereign set of institutions and practices informed by a set of shared standards and values. Writing centers in the United States took a particular path toward professionalization during the second half of the twentieth century, developing in response to the educational values and concerns of individuals in the American field of Rhetoric and Composition.

When the first writing centers were established in Russia, they began as an effort to duplicate the U.S. model (the Writing and Communication Center at the New Economic School is the paradigmatic example). They appeared, however, during a period of big changes for the Russian academic profession, which is now under increasing pressure to publish internationally. Likewise, the field of English Studies and the departments that tend to house writing centers have followed a much different trajectory than those at peer institutions in the United States. That this should be so may seem like common sense, but as I argue in this presentation, there are elements of the U.S. experience that should be instructive for Russian writing centers and vice versa.


Dr. Alexandr Zaytsev is a professional translator. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at Sechenov University, Moscow, Russia, and Deputy Head of the University’s Academic Writing Office. He took his graduate training during 2003–2006 at Moscow State Linguistic University, where he earned his Kandidat Nauk degree (Russian equivalent of Ph. D.) under Professor Vladimir Nayer. He has published over twenty articles and three monographs in the areas of translation studies and stylistics, including A Guide to English–Russian and Russian–English Non-literary Translation (Springer, 2016). 

Drawing on his experience in the fields of scientific and technical translation, Dr. Zaytsev lectures on theory of translation, stylistics, and academic writing. He is a member of the European Society for Translation Studies. Among his major English–Russian translation projects are The Anatomy Coloring Book by W. Kapit and L. Elson (2015) and Novel Technologies for Vaccine Development edited by I. Lukashevich and H. Shirvan (2017).

 Models of Text and Medical Academic Writing

In his presentation Models of Text and Medical Academic Writing, Alexandr Zaytsev will discuss the integration of ideas from text linguistics and functional stylistics in academic writing courses. His foundational premise is that one cannot write a text without an implicit or explicit theory of text in mind. The quality of one’s theory of text affects the quality of one’s writing.

Any person’s theory of text has two main parts: (1) a set of abstract beliefs about what a text is and what it takes to produce it or to grasp its content (i.e., a general model of text) and (2) some ideas as to what specific types of text exist in a language, what they are different in, which ‘laws’ they are governed by, and what it takes to grasp their content or to write them.

According to Alexandr Zaytsev’s observations, many Russian doctors are ‘naïve’ readers and writers, and this affects the quality of their writing in both Russian and English.

The situation can be improved by incorporating the study of a general model of text and models of specific text types into text-typological academic writing courses for doctors.



Zhenya Bakin is a language teacher and teacher trainer from Moscow. As a Fulbright scholar he has lived in the USA where he taught Russian at college level. Zhenya has also studied in University of Oslo, Norway. Zhenya holds Cambridge CELTA and DELTA with specialism in EAP. He has experience in teaching both in the private sector (IH-BKC) and in public schools. One of his interests is teaching with technology. Zhenya spent 6 years at Higher School of Economics where he was responsible for Academic Writing Center.  He is currently working as Head of Foreign Languages in New School, Moscow and studying at NILE towards an MA in education.


A One-Day Academic Writing Course: Designing an EAP Crash Program

This talk presents a successful one-day program on writing for academics. Unlike many pre-sessional courses, it focuses primarily on the needs of experienced non-native speaker researchers who want to publish in English. This interactive program raises participants’ awareness of linguistic and cultural features of academic discourse and practices….

My presentation starts with a brief overview of existing practices in EAP with focus on university researchers whose L1 is other than English. It then describes the context of my work and how I guide participants through the stages of a one-day EAP course. The four consecutive parts include “Ins and Outs of Academic Writing”, “Writing Strategies”, “How to Write an Abstract” and “Typical Mistakes in Academic Writing”. All of the above is presented with brief comments on options which an educator might have.

The second half of the talk argues that even a short but intensive program is beneficial for NNS researchers. The key factor for success here is a combination of theory and practice relevant to learner needs, exemplified by the course plan. For example, the “Ins and Outs” stage covers main features of academic writing whereas the “Abstract” part focuses on the participants’ individual experiences and writing practice. The follow-up discussion will clarify how the course promotes learner autonomy and raises awareness of issues connected to academic writing. The talk finishes with brief comments on how the program can be adapted to local contexts and a chance for questions.

Vasiliy Gorbachev, PhD, is a certified teacher, teacher-trainer, examiner and materials developer. Vasiliy has more than 20 years of experience of teaching EGP (English for general purposes), ESP (English for specific purposes) and EAP (English for academic purposes) in universities, private language schools and businesses. 

Vasiliy designed and supervised the English language support module for British BA programs in British Higher School of Art and Design, Moscow. He is the developer of such courses as “Basics of Academic Writing”, “Your BA dissertation in English” (British Higher School of Art and Design); “English Through Visual Arts”, “Creative Writing in English” (School Letovo); “Writing a Syllabus of Your Discipline in English” (Higher School of Economics). At present, Vasiliy is part of Letovo School academic team of curriculum developers. He is also a co-author of “English for Academics. Books 1&2” by British Council and Cambridge University Press.

Workshop “Crafting Course Description as a Key Section of Your Syllabus in English”

The workshop will focus on hands-on strategies of designing an effective Course description. It might appeal to all academics designing syllabi in English or using EMI as well as ELT teacher trainers coaching teachers of other subject areas in implementing CLIL and EMI approaches. We will consider the syllabus as a rhetorical situation, discuss the role of the “Course description” in the overall structure of the syllabus, compare various examples of authentic descriptions from different specialisms, and identify the features that make this section effective. The workshop will be a collaborative, co-constructive experience to all its participants.