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WGU ten years

Linguistics Professor to headline annual conference

Evolution or revolution in study skills provides the theme for this year’s Widening Access Conference at Glyndwr University.

The second annual event will be headlined by Professor David Crystal and takes place in Wrexham on Wednesday June 18.

An Honorary Professor in Linguistics at Bangor University, Prof Crystal will debate Language and the Internet at the Catrin Finch Centre.

Sonia Rocke and Andrew Edwards from Glyndwr’s Academic Study Skills team will also appear, to present the inaugural Celia Butters’ Memorial Lecture in tribute to their late colleague, who sadly passed away last year.

Conference coordinator Andrew said: “We are looking forward to welcoming Professor David Crystal to Glyndwr University and hearing his lecture.

“The range of speakers and topics we have this year should prove to be engaging and thought-provoking.”

He added: “We wanted to pay tribute to our late colleague, Celia. She was a key member of the study skills team and is sadly missed.

“The memorial lecture will take place every summer to provide us with a lasting memory of the amazing contribution she made to the University and its students over the years.”

Prof Crystal’s presentation will explore what influence the internet is having on language and what is happening to language as it comes to be used on the internet.

He published the first of his 100 or so books in 1964, and became known chiefly for his research work in English language studies, in such fields as intonation and stylistics, and in the application of linguistics to religious, educational and clinical contexts, notably in the development of a range of linguistic profiling techniques for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Having spoken in the linguistics arena for many years, the Holyhead-based writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster says he is looking forward to visiting Glyndwr.

“There is a great deal of misleading popular mythology when it comes to language and the internet, which needs to be replaced by precise linguistic description,” he said.

“I look at bridging the gap in the mind sets of adults and youngsters, whose natural environment is the internet.

“The internet has revolutionised language but when we speak we still use the same language that was used decades or even centuries ago.

“There is a debate to be had and I am looking forward to this conference, it should be a very special occasion.”

Other speakers include Jenny Jones, a third year BSc Library and Information Management student and ISS Assistant in User Services, who will talk about different university websites and her research into how many ‘clicks’ it takes to find information on the disability provision for students with a visual impairment.

Dave Middleton and Karen Foley from The Open University in Wales are also scheduled to appear and will give a presentation that “turns widening access on its head”, arguing that in a fragmented society all students should be considered as individualised learning.

Glyndwr’s widening access team was lauded recently for being among the top 10 in the UK for helping students from poorer families into professional jobs. The University was joint seventh in the proposed Social Mobility Graduate Index, and number one in Wales.

Last year’s conference welcomed more than 100 people to the Wrexham campus, where Dr Stella Cottrell, author of the Study Skills Handbook (SSH) and Director for Lifelong Learning at the University of Leeds, was the keynote speaker.

This summer’s event will begin with registration at 9.30am for a 10am start. The event runs until 4pm and a networking buffet lunch is provided.

Cost is £50 per person, though there is a ‘three for two’ special offer between now and June 18. For booking, visit For information of concessions, email For general event information, email

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