Recently, the English Department at Tunxis met with Business and CIS Departments to discuss the objectives, assignments, and work that students do in programs where writing is a requirement. In my mind, these kinds of discussions where faculty from all walks of the campus come togethert to exchange ideas are important for the people taking courses as well as for the teachers teaching them. The English Department at Tunxis isn’t a service department out of which students take their fresh abilities and apply them in other courses. If this was the case, no teaching in any other area would be done until first year writing was completed, right? On the other hand, we don’t see ourselves as cut off from the college community as a whole. We do hope, of course, that students will be able to explain themselves in other courses, and in this way we do service the college, but I’d rather see composition teaching as an offering to students who may be asked to express themselves elsewhere, either in Microeconomics or in British Literature.
I’m a big fan of teachers who ask their students to write outside of a composition course but who also take charge of the idea of writing for their own purposes, independent of the writing workshop.
Imagine a college environment where students only practiced using the language in composition, technical writing, and Literature. It would be an odd place indeed.
It would be interesting to create a learning portfolio for students to develop throughout their program career, a sort cummulative project whose outcome is to show a range of ideas and abilities, which checks along the way, a major element of this portfolio being writing.