Stetson University

Proposed Revision to the Writing Requirement

In 2012, Provost Beth Paul and Assistant Vice President for General Education John Pearson appointed a task force to consider and propose a revision to the writing requirement. That task force, under the leadership of Writing Program Director Megan O'Neill, met regularly during the fall 2013 semester and has proposed the following revision:

Inside Higher Education offered an essay entitled "Teaching Writing Intensive Courses" on Feb 7, 2014.

A Snapshot of the Proposed Writing Requirement

Proposed Writing Requirement

General Education

Enhancing general education courses by means of additional attention to writing instruction extends the emphasis we already practice in the critical interdisciplinary FSEM/JSEM structure. The proposal takes advantage of the written work done in a student's General Education coursework. Most students would take FSEM/JSEM; others would be able to choose a history, creative arts or other writing intensive course in a general education area.

In the Major

A course in disciplinary or professional writing methods and forms allows students a concentrated opportunity to learn and practice the specific skill sets of a field under the guidance of the experts in that field. In the proposed model, students would be required to take at least one course designated by the department as a methods or WID course. Stetson University already identifies several WID courses -- for example, PSYC 203, BIOL 497, ENGL 241 and BADM 205. This model proposes a requirement of at least one explicit methods or WID course for each major, with a WI designation to coordinate and make visible our emphasis on preparing students for the challenges they will encounter.

Plus Two

Finally, this model encourages student agency -- one of Stetson University's preferred models of relationship -- in the development of their skills at written communication. Because students do not learn to order, instead developing mastery at different times and speeds, and because students have unique needs and interests, the proposed model allows students to choose additional WI courses that match their needs and interests: in their chosen field, in an elective or in a general education course. Programs and majors might also choose to use this "plus one" as an additional disciplinary writing option.

Timeline for Implementation

The new requirement will start in fall 2015. If faculty vote to approve the change in the writing requirement at the end of spring 2014, implementation will be conducted as follows:

Summer 2014

  • Investigation and planning for faculty development workshops
  • Initial stages of planning the Writing Fellows program
  • Investigation into potential grant and other funding opportunities

Fall 2014

  • Pre-fall workshop for interested faculty
  • Discuss establishment of faculty governance group (with Academic Affairs)
  • Potential limited pre/post assessment in some courses
  • Making adjustments to Degree Audit and Banner to reflect new requirement
  • Admissions notified to begin recruitment outreach
  • Ongoing faculty training
  • Invited speaker to assist with conversion
  • Identification of key courses to target for enhanced, high impact pedagogy and WI designation
  • Departmental faculty begin discussions of courses required to meet the disciplinary writing requirement
  • Development and implementation of new writing placement process

Spring 2015

  • Spring workshops for interested faculty
  • WI course designations in place and approved for fall offerings
  • Ongoing faculty development opportunities
  • Invited speaker to assist with transition to WI curriculum
  • Initial training courses for Writing Fellows
  • Plans for embedding Writing Fellows in select courses during fall 2015 (projected 20 Fellows)
  • Plan for transition of requirement for current students ("Do no harm")
  • Identify feasible assessment process (with general education and disciplinary faculty)

Fall 2015

  • Full implementation of new requirement!
  • Initial embedded set of Writing Fellows in Gen. Ed. courses (projected 20 Fellows)
  • Begin faculty development for new hires
  • New faculty governance group begins oversight and planning work
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