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Writing Across the Curriculum

Global Perspectives: Research and Writing Seminars

This course is designed to prepare students to be active participants in upper-level courses and to begin to develop the research skills needed for upper-level courses and the Senior Capstone Experience. The program was designed by the faculty as a whole over several years of discussion and debate, and was inaugurated in Fall 2009. The course design approved by the faculty requires several components to be integrated into each version of the course, and is supervised by a faculty director for the program working with the Curriculum Committee to insure that these components are in fact offered in the spirit in which they were intended. The inaugural faculty director, serving a three-year term, is Prof. Andrew Oros (Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies). Prof. Michele Volansky (Associate Professor of Drama) served as Acting Director of the program in Fall 2010.

** Courses taught in the GRW program must be approved by the Curriculum Committee using a special course proposal form due by the Advising Day of the semester prior to the semester in which the course will be taught. Courses need only be approved once through this process. In addition, syllabi for GRW courses must be submitted to the faculty director of GRW program at the beginning of the semester in which the course is offered, including courses where syllabi were submitted in previous semesters.

The faculty director of GRW maintains a GRW Blackboard site for GRW instructors and support staff that includes a discussion board and a number of electronic documents and handouts, including the GRW course proposal form. Any interested faculty are welcome to submit their email address to join the site. In addition, two notebooks that include all previous GRW syllabi, sample handouts, and other supplemental materials are housed in the Writing Center for any faculty member to review.

Five required components of all GRW courses:

Global Component

Topics for GRW seminars should be international or global in character. That means that they should not focus primarily on American issues and texts. But it also means that topics should not normally be focused on a single foreign country. Ideally, topics will allow for the consideration of different nations, cultures or regions within the course, or they may address an issue that is global in nature and thus manifests itself differently in different locations (colonialism, global warming, spread of diseases, poverty, etc.).

Writing Component

GRW courses offer students frequent opportunities to write. Assignments emphasize the process of research, a process that involves exploration, synthesis, analysis, and argumentation. In addition to a formal research essay, assignments may include reaction papers, process journals, summaries, or proposals.

As a means of helping students develop a critical awareness of their own writing processes and encouraging thoughtful revision, GRW courses may draw on the resources provided by the Writing Center. Collaboration with the Center can occur in a variety of ways—through in-class workshops, peer review, small group writing sessions, or individual writing conferences. By receiving additional individualized support and feedback, students will grow as writers and develop the habits of mind necessary to participate in the academic community.

The Writing Center will also support GRW faculty in the teaching of writing through workshops and individual consultation on topics ranging from assignment design to alternative methods of evaluating writing.

Research Component

GRW courses will require students to demonstrate the research process in at least one assignment that involves extensive use of research skills and resources.

Library Component

The syllabus will indicate a specific number of library-based assignments that will provide students with the opportunity to develop research skills. On the GRW course proposal form, instructors will indicate whether they will utilize the instructional librarians to offer instruction on the use of the library or whether they will offer such instruction on their own.

Research instruction in GRW seminars in collaboration with reference librarians will provide students with the basics of academic library research and an overview of the resources available through the library’s web page. The course will include instruction on the information gathering process, how to search the on-line catalog, and how and where to locate materials within Miller Library or on the web page. Students will be required to use advanced search techniques to identify, select, retrieve, and evaluate information available in libraries, on the web page, and the Internet. In particular, students will learn how to use periodical databases and indexes.

Presentation Component

GRW courses will require students to present their work to the class and should thus include instruction in the techniques of effective oral presentation and the use of supporting visual materials such as PowerPoint or digital video.