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SL-AWI-20110921_205-spotlightEmployers consistently cite the ability to write well as a top required skill for prospective employees. Students may not always see the assignment to write a lengthy research paper as a pathway to a great job but the core curriculum recognizes that link. All Canisius graduates have to take at least one advanced writing intensive (AWI) course.

The AWI courses at Canisius range widely, teaching the writing of traditional academic research papers, lab reports and news stories. All require students to demonstrate proficiency with organization, sentence structure, word choice and mechanics, as well as an understanding of the purpose and for the writing assignment and the ethical use of sources.

Students do well in those categories. In the recent assessment of advanced writing intensive courses, 87 percent of students met or exceeded expectations overall. Students scored best in their word choice, with 96 percent meeting or exceeding that objective. Organization of the paper (87 percent meet or exceed); understanding purpose and audience (89 percent meet or exceed); and ethical use of sources (87 percent meet or exceed).  Students were somewhat less successful in two areas: sentence structure and mechanics, both of which scored at 78 percent, meeting or exceeding expectations.

By providing these results to the Core Curriculum Committee and the faculty at-large, faculty members can work on these skills before the next round of assessments, in hopes that changes to the courses will improve student learning of these critical skills. Information about the core curriculum or its assessment processes is available from Rev. Pat Lynch, SJ, director of the core curriculum and professor of religious studies and theology, and Mark Meyer, PhD, associate director of the core curriculum and associate professor of computer science.

Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs