LSA students who major in math or science, but also have a passion for writing will soon have the opportunity to put their talent on their transcript.
The Sweetland Writing Center will offer a minor in writing beginning this fall. According to Anne Ruggles Gere, the director of the Sweetland Writing Center, the minor was created to draw more attention to writing and to provide an organized academic track for students who already do a large amount of writing in their concentrations.
The writing minor is intended for students with various interests who are studying in all departments of LSA, Gere said. She added that the program is selective and students must demonstrate skill in prose writing to be accepted to the minor.
Gere added that the minor will help students become “participants in 21st century writing” by giving them the capacity to develop their writing skills in conjunction with their academic concentration.
Along with the required courses, students who minor in writing must compile an electronic portfolio. Gere said this presents an opportunity for students to reflect on their growth as writers and to explore writing in new media.
“Part of learning to write well is to become reflective about your writing,” Gere said. “The electronic aspect of the portfolio also allows for manipulation and the creation of different versions, which would be useful when applying to various graduate schools or jobs.”
Gere also said one of the reasons for creating the minor was to make students more marketable in the current economic downturn.
“In this economy, we need to help students in every way possible to make themselves more attractive on the job market and to graduate schools,” Gere said. “One of the most important things that our society is looking for is people who write well.”
In order to create a minor that is distinguishable from the long-established English major, Gere said the Sweetland Writing Center worked with colleagues from the English department to set up the new academic discipline.
The process for implementing the new minor began last fall, and is the center currently accepting applications from qualified LSA students until March 7. According to Gere, the deadline was established so the center can notify students of their acceptance before registration for the next semester begins.
Patrick Manning, the student services administrative assistant at the Sweetland Writing Center, said students who are accepted can begin taking courses to fulfill the minor’s requirements this spring term, though the gateway course for the program is not scheduled to begin until fall.
Students who have declared a concentration in LSA and have completed their first-year writing requirement with a satisfactory grade may apply for the minor. Once accepted, declared students will take at least five courses through the Sweetland Writing Center and the English department. Students are also required to incorporate their concentration program into the minor by taking upper-level writing requirement designated courses in their concentration or in a related field.
Other areas of LSA have increased their focus on student writers as well. The English department recently introduced a new minor, creative writing, which students may begin applying for this fall.
Susan Parrish, the director of undergraduate studies in the English department, wrote in an e-mail interview that she is happy LSA has accepted two new minors, adding that she feels the two programs will be complimentary and will foster writing development at the University.
“With both of these minors in place, students will have more opportunities to work on and perfect their writing— a form of expression still indispensable even in our increasingly digital, multi-media age,” she wrote.
Parrish wrote that the minor in writing differs from the English concentration because it is focused on expository writing, rather than literature-based writing.
LSA sophomore Khari Jones, a brain behavior and cognitive science major, said he thinks the writing minor is very appropriate as a minor will help demonstrate that students from non-writing majors have the ability to write.
“It would be a good thing for employers to see, since they can’t assume that someone is a good writer,” Jones said.