Possible Goals

Elon's Writing Excellence Initiative aims to benefit all Elon students, with a special focus on three Student Learning Outcomes.

  1. Writing Expertise. At the time they graduate, all Elon students will possess the expertise to write effectively within and across the many contexts they will encounter in their professions or careers.
  2. Inquiry: At the time they graduate, all Elon students will possess the writing abilities significant to critical thinking and the creation of knowledge, pursued both independently and in collaboration with others.
  3. Engagement and Action: At the time they graduate, all Elon students will possess the writing abilities required to participate effectively in public discourse about local, regional, and global issues.

These outcomes will be elaborated and supplemented as faculty, staff, and student groups across the university imagine ways they can use this initiative and its resources to achieve their own goals and aspirations.

Because writing is a powerful tool for learning, our focus on writing will also increase the knowledge and skills students develop in all aspects of their Elon education. An additional outcome will be creation of a student culture that is even more vibrant intellectually, culturally, and creatively than today.

Please comment and then continue reading the plan ... Possible Guiding Principles

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All Comments

  • I am very appreciative of the QEP committee’s efforts to secure valuable and meaningful responses to the “possible” components of the QEP plan. I hope all feedback will be useful in refining goals, principles, actions, and assessments. To get as close as possible to all students meeting learning outcomes of this writing initiative, it will be imperative that we do not make assumptions about the sophistication of students’ high school exposure to writing instruction. Much of high school education is designed to be standardized and quantifiable. To that end, high school writing instruction is focused on producing student work that will pass state standardized test scrutiny. Consequently, many students arrive with formulaic, one dimensional approaches to writing. There can be student resistance to learn more about good writing, and that’s the easy group of students. The more difficult task is remediation. A small element of the student body needs remediation, but the need is real and the responsibility of providing support to these admitted students is ours. Our weakest writers start in a very different place where concerns about audience and reader response regularly take a backseat to grammar. It will take time and more targeted support beyond what currently exists to help them become competent and confident writers. It is my hope that the QEP will include a remediation action plan for students who are significantly behind their peers in writing skill development so that the lofty and admirable goal of improving the skill of all students is more likely.

  • One other small thing here: In the last sentence, "creation" suggests there’s nothing currently there, which is not what the rest of the sentence implies; would “expansion” capture the committee’s intent here?

  • As a whole, I think the draft plan is great. The committee has done a remarkable job, and I wish to thank everyone on the committee for their hard work on something that truly will impact all of us, individually and collectively as a university. My comments here, and in other sections, primarily are directed at seeking or suggesting clarification in the tentative plan.<br/><br/>Goals 1 and 3 seem clear to me; goal 2, less so. It is unclear or confusing to me exactly what the committee is intending to cover here. I think it is partially due to the words “significant to” – do you mean the skills and abilities “that exhibit” critical thinking and knowledge creation? Or those “required for”? Or using writing as the actual tool that shapes and supports critical thinking and creation of knowledge? I liked the use of “powerful tool for learning” in the last paragraph in section I, and I can see a real benefit—it’s perhaps less acknowledged currently—to impressing upon students (and the rest of us) that it is not only written products that matter, but that the ACT of writing can be instrumental is “discovering what you have to say” (cf. Skinner, 1981). I’m curious whether that is what the committee was intending to convey in goal 2, and if so, if it could be made more clear (and if not, perhaps you would consider adding that idea as well as clarifying what meaning was intended). <br/><br/>Further, my reading of goal 2 almost packs too much in at once. Specifically, the end portion on pursuing this goal independently and collaboratively feels almost like a separate goal to me. I wonder if it started that way and there was a need to condense? Would it be worth separating it and elaborating slightly? (This may be standing out to me because of writing conventions in my own discipline and may not be universal enough across the university units to warrant separation.)<br/>

  • I mentioned this under the "Actions" category but it's more relevant here: Can we consider thinking about adding "disciplines" along with "professions or careers"? Perhaps it's implied, but I think being explicit would be good, particularly in orienting our students. And again, great work. Thank you all.