In national surveys, employers consistently rank effective written communication as the most important skill they want from college graduates. In surveys of our own faculty, written communication is ranked as the area of student development most in need of improvement.
A comprehensive approach to developing student writing skills is thus embedded within the Core Curriculum. This approach develops both cross-disciplinary writing skills along with those specific to certain majors and professional schools.
Among many pedagogical practices across disciplines, “Writing-to-learn” strategies have one of the highest degrees of correlation with student learning and engagement. In other words, classes that integrate writing as a practice in the pedagogy have a higher degree of successful student learning than those courses that use other methods.
At North Park, students are required to take 4sh of Writing Intensive coursework and 4sh of Research Writing Coursework. WI/WR courses are “designated” as such and can be found either among other courses in the Core Curriculum or among courses in a student’s major. Transfer students are required to show they have take courses that satisfy the same requirements as our WI and WR courses.
The WI and WR courses are located within the Exploratory Curriculum the intermediate GE courses often taken between the 2nd and 5th semester. Along with the writing courses, the exploratory curriculum includes courses in the Arts, Sciences, Culture & Society, and Ethics. It is organized around diverse disciplinary knowledge set within the context of application to contemporary life. It builds upon the skills established in the Foundations Curriculum which includes CORE 1000, along with the introductory courses in Biblical Studies, Mathematics, and Global Histories.
The writing curriculum consists of four writing courses starting in the first year of studies.The Learning Outcomes of the WI and WR courses are taken from the Essential Learning Outcomes document used to structure our entire Core Curriculum. The three outcomes most connected to our writing curriculum are:
- Communication: Demonstrate effective written, oral, and visual communication skills and sensitivities.
- Argumentation: Employ argumentation strategies by constructing, analyzing and evaluating discursive and quantitative reasoning to form independent judgments.
- Inquiry – Retrieve and interpret information and scholarship in particular contexts to formulate constructive questions.
HOW TO DESIGN COURSES FOR THE WRITING CURRICULUM
The General Education Committee and North Park Writing Center is available to consult with you about developing WI or WR courses in your department or converting existing courses to be writing intensive. The rubrics below lay out the basic expectations of such courses. To submit a course for committee approval, fill out and submit the “Course Proposal Form” located on the GE Committee site. Send all proposals and materials to the committee chair at least one week prior to the committee meeting.