Fewer writing courses weaken our “Rock Solid Education”
The Rocket Staff
December 7, 2012
Filed under Opinion
Not too long ago, Slippery Rock University required every one of its undergraduate students to complete two college writing courses for liberal studies requirements.
In general, the first course focused on making sure students had college-level writing styles and grammar while the second course focused on how to write research papers.
Both courses were not only valuable to English majors, but to every student across the campus as every major requires writing and research.
This course requirement has changed in the recent past, however, and we feel it was not in the best interest of the university.
The reason for the change seems to be that each major has different requirements and styles for research reports, so having all students take the course under the English program is not ideal.
There is some logic to that. Research writing does vary from major to major, but that doesn’t remove the need for a general introduction to research writing.
While research is different depending on the field, general introductory practices like citation, finding qualified sources, and even using the university library’s resources are universal across campus.
And they deserve a course to teach them correctly.
The school should not be cramming a brief research introduction in with teaching students proper college writing styles and grammar. There is going to be a decrease in the quality of writing as a result.
Few things are more important for young college students to do than improve their writing skills.
It is a skill that is important for every major, and almost every class.
And while each major can set their own course in research writing, as is the intended purpose, that time should be spent on advanced research methods, not basic lessons taught in a general English course.
Every syllabus has an academic integrity section, warning students against plagiarism. But how are students suppose to know all the issues and instances of it without a course specialized in research? How many courses will they have before their majors adequately teach them research writing?
For almost all majors, writing and research skills are the backbone to the learning process itself. It is how students can not only learn, but show and explain what they have learned.
If a student cannot do the basic task of writing at a college level effectively, there is little hope that they will be able to graduate with the standard of education expected of them.
Every student deserves to receive a standard course in research from the university. And while there is certainly a need for each major to specialize in research, the general principles need to be taught to students early in their careers.