Background: WE Write for Success
The University of Lynchburg Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), WE Write for Success, is the result of a broad-based, institution-wide discussion about how to improve students’ ability to support a main idea with evidence in their written work. Beginning in the fall of 2014, all incoming first-year students are required to complete at least six Writing Enriched (WE) courses (the equivalent of 17 credit hours), at least one of which is in their major, by the time they graduate. This new requirement supports the University’s writing and critical thinking goals and undergirds the University’s mission to prepare students “for engagement in a global society and for effective leadership in the civic, professional, and spiritual dimensions of life.”
The University’s WE Write for Success QEP has established clear goals for student learning and has an assessment plan that builds on already established practices. The QEP Development Group has designed and promulgated guidelines for what constitutes a Writing Enriched course and has identified the student learning outcomes for writing in those courses.
- Students use writing process skills to develop and organize ideas, draft papers, and engage in revision.
- Students use writing to summarize, analyze, and evaluate ideas, information, and sources.
- Students develop a thesis (main idea) and provide sound reasons/evidence to support it.
- Students organize their writing in a logically cohesive way that is easy to follow and is explained clearly.
- Students produce writing that addresses the audience, purpose, and presentation.
QEP pilot work revealed that faculty development workshops and the availability of a writing consultant allowed faculty to transition an existing course to WE-eligible status. The University will continue to administer the CLA+, the “Writing” assessment using the University’s “Persuasive Communication” rubric, and NSSE. In addition, it is piloting survey instruments for students to reflect on their own growth as writers and major-specific writing artifacts that can be assessed in discipline-based WE courses.