Faculty and the General Education Program

General Education and Student Writing:
What Students Learn in Academic Writing and Professional Writing

The University recognizes that good writing is essential to learning and advancing knowledge in all disciplines; writing enables clear and effective communication and is one of the chief means by which college students participate actively in the institution's intellectual work. The Campus Writing Board offers a series of resources to support your efforts to incorporate more writing into courses as they are revised to fulfill the General Education curriculum. Below, in summary, are the learning outcomes in Academic and Professional Writing, the two required Fundamental Studies writing courses.

What students learn in Academic Writing Courses

Academic Writing must address at least 4 of the 6 Learning Outcomes. On completion of an Academic Writing course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of writing as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate sources, and as a process that involves composing, editing, and revising.
  • Demonstrate critical reading and analytical skills, including understanding an argument's major assertions and assumptions and how to evaluate its supporting evidence.
  • Demonstrate facility with the fundamentals of persuasion as these are adapted to a variety of special situations and audiences in academic writing.
  • Demonstrate research skills, integrate their own ideas with those of others, and apply the conventions of attribution and citation correctly.
  • Use Standard Written English and edit and revise their own writing for appropriateness. Students should take responsibility for such features as format, syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the connection between writing and thinking and use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating in an academic setting.

What Students Learn in Professional Writing Courses

In Professional Writing must address at least 4 of the 7 Learning Outcomes. On completion of a Professional Writing course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze a variety of professional rhetorical situations and produce appropriate texts in response.
  • Understand the stages required to produce competent, professional writing through planning, drafting, revising, and editing.
  • Identify and implement the appropriate research methods for each writing task.
  • Practice the ethical use of sources and the conventions of citation appropriate to each genre.
  • Write for the intended readers of a text, and design or adapt texts to audiences who may differ in their familiarity with the subject matter.
  • Demonstrate competence in Standard Written English, including grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, coherence, and document design (including the use of the visual) and be able to use this knowledge to revise texts.
  • Produce cogent arguments that identify arguable issues, reflect the degree of available evidence, and take account of counter arguments.