UMass Amherst Welcomes Literacy Specialist

AMHERST, Mass. - South African literacy specialist Lucia Thesen will speak on "Redefining the Boundaries: Identity and English for Academic Purposes," Wed., Sept. 23 at 4 p.m. in room 301 of Herter Hall at the University of Massachusetts. The talk is free and open to the public.

Thesen is a member of the Language Development Group at the University of Cape Town. In her talk, she will focus on how South African universities instruct students who are underprepared for college-level work because of limited exposure to English.

Thesen’s visit to the University is part of an ongoing series of exchanges between the University and academic institutions in South Africa. Thesen was invited to the University by UMass English professor Anne Herrington who had visited the University of Capetown during a similar exchange last year.

Herrington felt that Thesen’s talk would be particularly relevant considering teachers in the United States face similar issues. "Teaching students for whom English is a second language is an increasingly relevant problem," says Herrington. "I think Thesen’s experiences will have much resonance for academics here."

Herrington says that the University is currently making plans for further visits by South African academics and writers during the coming semester. Thesen’s talk is co-sponsored by the English department, the Writing Program Teaching in Process fund, and the School of Education.

During her visit, Thesen will also meet with faculty from the School of Education and the English department to discuss ideas in an informal roundtable session.