Welcome to the CAC: UVic’s Academic Writing/Coaching Centre!

You are currently visiting our resources site. We also have a site hosted on the University of Victoria main website. You may also want to check out our spaces for Graduate Writing and Discipline-Specific Writing.

Visit us in the Library Learning Commons: offices 135 i-m

fall 2023 programs

Are you wondering where to get personalized help with academic communication skills and learning strategies? We work with you one-on-one, offering advice on academic writing, reading, presentations, time management and more that you can apply to a variety of courses. This spring and summer, appointments will take place in person or online, through same-day written feedback or real-time Zoom appointments.  

Whether you’re getting started with your assignment and need help understanding the instructions, or you’ve completed your draft and want to refine it, we’re here to help!  

On this page you will find information about:

Student Appointments (available every day!)

Students can self-book up to three 25-minute appointments for written feedback or to book an appointment either online or in person each week. For additional appointments, email the CAC manager. We offer tips and advice on the following: 

Writing skills Reading skills  Presentation skills Speaking skills Time management skills
Understand your assignment Read strategically Prepare to present Pronounce discipline-specific words Manage your time and set goals
Prewrite and plan Read for research Deliver your presentation Communicate in groups Reduce stress and concentrate
Draft, revise, and self-edit Think critically Pace your presentation Gain confidence Prepare for tests

English Conversation Café Plus: An opportunity for UVic students with English as an Additional Language

Join us: McPherson library in front of office 135m, 12-1 pm, Wednesdays | September 13 to December 6 | Centre for Academic Communication

12 to 1 p.m. Conversation Café:  practice listening, reading, and discussion skills; receive informal coaching on vocabulary use and pronunciation; and get tips for developing fluency and confidence.

No registration required.

Facilitated by Nancy Ami, Natalie Boldt, Kaveh Tagharobi, and Madeline Walker – email Madeline at caceal4@uvic.ca for more information.

Grad writing room 

Wednesdays, 1 to 3 p.m., at the CAC, MacPherson Library

Writing Together: Bring your laptop or pen and paper. We’ll work on our individual writing projects alone, but we’ll be together for solidarity. CAC tutor available for consultation from 1 to 2pm. No registration required.

“Learn About…” individual workshops, by appointment

Need a grammar refresher? Make an appointment for an individual “Learn About…” workshop  on the following topics:

  • Pronouns & agreement: Discuss sentences like “Each struggle/struggles with their/his/her agreement.” (Nancy; cacmgr@uvic.ca)
  • That versus which, or is it whose? Create smooth connections when writing adjective clauses! (Madeline; caceal4@uvic.ca)
  • Active/passive voice: Get tips on strategic use of active/passive voice in your sentences. (Gillian; eal1@uvic.ca)
  • Commas, semicolons, and colons: Enrich your punctuation toolkit through humorous examples! (Emily; cacpc@uvic.ca)
  • “A” or “The”? That is the question! Get all your questions answered about nouns, articles, and more! (Kaveh; eal2@uvic.ca)

Workshops (all welcome!)  

Nailing your “naysayer”: How to use qualifiers and rebuttals to strengthen your argument, 3 to 4pm, October 25; Zoom: https://uvic.zoom.us/j/87284686535

Looking for ways to make your argument more persuasive? You may want (or need!) to address a “naysayer.” Sometimes called a “skeptic,” a naysayer is a someone, whether imagined or actual, who might object to part or the whole of your argument. By naming and addressing their concerns directly, you have the opportunity to make your argument more nuanced and more persuasive. In this workshop, we’ll talk about how to identify possible counterarguments and discuss strategies to effectively introduce and address those naysaying voices with qualifiers and rebuttals. For more info, contact Natalie (caceal3@uvic.ca).

Have you fallen behind in your coursework? Are you feeling overwhelmed or dispirited? 12 to 1pm, November 8; in person in Library 130 and in Zoom: https://uvic.zoom.us/j/97389771497 (*no passcode).

Join this one-hour interactive session to discuss triage tactics for getting back on track. Among other topics, this workshop will discuss strategies for reducing stress through backwards planning, as well as how to increase motivation and reduce procrastination. Participants are encouraged to share their unique experiences so that we can strategize concrete “next steps” as a group.

Flow like a river: Creating coherence and cohesion in your writing, 9 to 10am, November 1; Zoom: https://uvic.zoom.us/my/madelinewalker

In this workshop, we’ll talk about how to create flow in your writing by looking at global flow (cohesion) and local flow (coherence). We’ll review five effective approaches to creating coherence (organizational patterns and colour coding) and cohesion (known-to-new sequencing, transitional expressions, and getting to the verb). Everyone is welcome! Contact Madeline at caceal4@uvic.ca for information. 

Self-editing strategies, 9 to 10am, November 22; Zoom: https://uvic.zoom.us/j/83175390648  

Wondering how to strategically polish a final draft? Join us for information about prioritizing sentence and grammar issues when making changes. Discover approaches and tools to streamline the self-editing process. Contact Nancy at cacmgr@uvic.ca for information. 

Elevate verbs for powerful writing, 9 to 10am, November 29; in person in Room 130, McPherson Library

In this workshop, we’ll learn about how improve writing in two ways: 1) move action from non-verbs to verbs, and 2) elevate verbs to their strongest form. The result is concise writing that flows. Contact Madeline (caceal4@uvic.ca)  for more information.

Online Resources

We have resources available to you 24/7 on our CAC website, our Brightspace site, and our graduate student community blog:  

  • Visit our resources for text handouts and short videos on popular topics, such as defining your thesis, writing strong paragraphs, and becoming an effective reader.  
  • Our CAC Online Brightspace is self-enrolling—once you are signed into UVic Brightspace, go to “Discover” in the top menu and find “CAC online.” Once you are in the site, explore multi-modal material about all types of academic communication plus resources just for graduate students.  
  • Our Graduate Student Writer’s Community blog publishes posts about the graduate student experience, many by graduate students (please consider writing a blogpost for us!). Check out the Dissertation Writers’ Resource tab for articles on many aspects of writing a thesis (not just for PhD students).