Harvey Mudd Writing Course a Model for Other Institutions

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While learning about the relationships between STEM disciplines through Common Core courses, Harvey Mudd students are also getting a healthy dose of writing instruction, including through the relatively new course, Introduction to Academic Writing (Writ 1). Highlighted in a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Peer Review article, Writ 1 is showcased as being one of several new programs at U.S. institutions that is helping improve students’ writing ability.

Cover image of Peer Review, winter 2017, a journal of AAC&U

Authors of the article “How Writing Contributes to Learning: New Findings from a National Study and Their Local Application” include Harvey Mudd administrators: Director of Learning Programs Wendy Menefee-Libey and Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness Laura Palucki Blake. They helped prepare the article and shared information about the College’s Writ 1 course, which was designed by faculty from multiple academic departments. This course is part of a campus-wide effort to develop writing and critical inquiry skills and provide students with effective writing strategies and conventions that apply across the various disciplines taught at Harvey Mudd.

Harvey Mudd College is one of three highlighted institutions that is maximizing learning experiences through well-designed writing assignments—a strategy research has found to be very effective. The authors note, “By disseminating and promoting the use of our research results throughout their curricula, colleges and universities can maximize the additional learning that students in any field gain through well-designed writing assignments. The following examples illustrate ways that schools with different missions, students, and resources for faculty and curricular development have begun doing so.”

Peer Review is a quarterly publication on emerging trends and key debates in undergraduate education.