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Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Committee to review new core proposal
Changes emphasize upper division writing skills
By Jacque Petersell
Staff Reporter

The University Core Curriculum redesign committee will review a proposal this month
to place more emphasis on writing skills in upper division courses within each major.

Committee Chairman Richard Enos said he hopes the university will hire a person with comprehensive writing skills and knowledge of several areas of study to coordinate upper level writing emphasis classes across each discipline.

Currently, Carrie Leverenz, director of composition, coordinates curriculum methods and content in the freshman and sophomore English composition classes. Enos said the new coordinator would complement Leverenz’s duties by reformatting courses to teach students how to communicate ideas to those who are not experts in their field.

Enos said extra writing classes are especially important for majors that do not normally emphasize writing, such as math and science majors.

“We have brilliant students in science and math, but they have problems with writing,” Enos said. “In every discipline you must be able to articulate the complex ideas of your field to a non-expert.”

Some majors would either need to add classes or adjust class requirements to fit the writing emphasis

criteria. To fulfill writing emphasis requirements, a course must include assignments with certain word counts and an approved revision process.

Walt Williamson, chairman of the engineering department, said his students do not have difficulty writing. He was concerned about what classes may be eliminated from the curriculum to add more writing courses.

Enos said the writing classes are not meant to take away from any classes in the curriculum, but are intended to supplement classes the students are taking in their major. Enos said some courses that already involve writing could be redesigned so that they fit the criteria of a writing emphasis course.

Brett Vacek, a senior marketing major, said he may not like taking extra writing classes within his major, but having the right communication skills is important in the business world.

“You need to be able to communicate within the company,” Vacek said. “Extra writing classes will help (with communication skills) more than analytical classes.”

Bekah Branstetter, a senior engineering major, said many of her classes already teach how to write to those who are not experts in the field, but they do not receive writing emphasis credit for those classes. She said having additional classes to teach them how to write would not be beneficial.

“It would be really redundant,” she said. “We are already getting (the writing skills) in our other classes.”

The UCR redesigning committee will meet once a week throughout October to look at and make revisions to the draft, Enos said.

Jacque Petersell


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