By Robert Hu
Special to The Denisonian
A new writing program is at its final stage to replace the existing FYS courses.
According to Matt Kretchmar, professor of math and computer science, one of the faculty members in Academic Affairs Council, and former dean of first year students, the new writing program has two key bodies, writing workshop and writing seminars.
The writing workshop will be similar to FYS 101 but has some “pedagogical goal” differences from the previous one. Students will also take another two writing seminars, at least one of which will be taken in sophomore year, and they will be integrated into the existing courses.
“Finally,” said Kretchmar said, “departments will be required to make explicit goals of writing within their respective disciplines. In some cases, majors may require students to take a senior elective that is writing intensive. In other majors, writing may be woven throughout a sequence of courses.”
The new writing program will start with the class of 2018 in the fall of 2014.
The fact that the preparation of the new writing program took nearly seven years makes this program exceptionally valuable.
“With something as important and pervasive as our writing program, you need to allow time for everyone to contribute to the discussion and to make compromises and adjustments,” Kretchmar said.
“But we have a better and stronger program as a result, and more of the community buys in. It was worth it to take our time to and get it right,” Kretchmar added.
However, there is still more work to be done. For example, there is no specific plan targeting international students.
“Some details of the writing program are not all figured out yet. The faculty has built a new writing committee tasked to look for the details and make proposals on it,” said Stetson Thacker, a senior English and biology double major from Valley View, Ohio and student representative on the Academic Affairs Council.
His statement is supported by the Associate Provost James Pletcher. “That is a particular aspect of the writing program that still needs to be adjusted, as far as I know I don’t think it has been worked out.”
“Our new writing program situates writing where it belongs, as one of the centerpieces of a liberal arts education,” concludes Kretchmar.
“I hope Denison can be a leader in the new writing program,” said Stetson, “and provide an awesome model for other schools to look into.” This is indeed a great opportunity for Denison to nationally establish itself in writing like Hamilton College has.