Debrielle T. Jacques, PhD

Assistant Professor | Clinical Child Psychology | University of Washington

Introduction to Academic Writing from a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Perspective

De-mystifying Academic Writing

It is so important to know how to write! Although academics write (a lot!), we are rarely if ever formally taught how to do it well. Navigating academia, I often wondered "what constitutes 'good' writing?", and importantly, "how can I use and find my own voice in academic writing?". Steven Pinker once asked (paraphrasing)  "why does so much academic writing stink?" and although he answered his own question, writing instruction continues to uphold jargon-laden, impenetrable writing. My main issue with this is that academic writing in the social sciences - which discusses socially relevant topics - feels so disconnected and impersonal. Students from underrepresented backgrounds may be unable to see or find their voice if most writers do not speak or write like them. Thus, I would love to teach a course that reviews the basic components of different types of writing academics do: empirical articles, review articles, and translational work in a way that validates and encourages students to write "as their true selves". De-mystifying academic writing, and making it more accessible for students and academics from diverse walks of life can propel academia toward a more equitable and socially connected future.