By endorsing Writing Across the Curriculum, SU faculty assumes responsibility to help students explore and perfect their thoughts through writing. In our classes we use writing as a means by which students can explore ideas and clarify their thoughts. Consequently, we often use informal (frequently un-graded) writing-to-learn activities in our classes, as well as formal (usually graded) written assignments where we pay particular attention to their writing skills.
*1. The act of writing enhances knowing: retrieving information, organizing it, and expressing it in writing seems to improve understanding and retention.
2. Writing is an active learning process and active learning seems to be more effective than passive reception.
3. Writing is a way of making knowledge personal. The writer brings to bear a subjective point of view and reinterprets personally what has been learned.
4. Writing focuses attention: those who know they are expected to write tend to be more attentive.
5. Writing seems to facilitate thinking about a subject. The act of writing enables the writer to discern new relationships and make new connections.
6. Writing is a way of sharing what is known. Students can use writing to share with classmates what they have learned.
7. Writing provides immediate feedback to the learner and to the teacher about what has been learned--and what has not been learned.
8. Writing is a self-paced mode of learning; the pace of writing seems to match better the pace of learning, slowing down the process of those who might be inclined to finish a learning task too quickly.
9. Each discipline has its own way of knowing and its own modes of communicating knowledge; students should have a broad knowledge of how writing is used in several diverse disciplines. For example, a scientist reporting the results of a scientific inquiry uses objective language to communicate results; a literary critic evaluating a novel uses . more subjective language to discuss personal reactions. (3)
* Adapted from Writing to Learn, LaSalle University, Philadelphia, P A
Adding to that commitment in 1992 the Board submitted the following student outcomes to the Office of Academic Affairs as our long-range objectives.
1. All students will be exposed to a range of writing experiences before graduation.
2. All students will demonstrate a range of writing to learn strategies.
3. All students will use writing to show evidence of critical thinking, problem solving, and logical thinking skills.
4. All students will be competent with writing formats and styles necessary for their disciplines.