Book cover for Writing Beyond the University: Preparing Lifelong Learners for Lifewide Writing. Edited by Julia Bleakney, Jessie L. Moore, and Paula Rosinski.
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October 3, 2022

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ISBN: 978-1-951414-09-2

November 2022

From chapter 10, “‘What One Learns in College Only Makes Sense When Practicing It at Work’: How Early-Career Alumni Evaluate Writing Success”

Researchers represented multiple types of institutional contexts for this work. The first Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is a public university of 25,500 students in Bowling Green, OH (Midwest) United States. Began in 1910 as a normal school, specializing in teacher training and education and, over the years, developed into a state comprehensive university, ranked as an R 2 (“high research activity”) by the Carnegie Foundation. Ohio residents make up 85% of the student population. The University Writing Program oversees the first-year writing program, which provides students a foundation in academic writing. Students take WRIT 1110: Seminar in Academic Writing and WRIT 1120: Seminar in Research Writing. Students who need additional writing assistance take WRIT 1010: Academic Writing Workshop, which is co-req’d with WRIT 1110. BGSU has no upper-division writing requirement, although writing is taught to varying degrees in courses across the disciplines. While writing is valued, a majority of faculty would rather focus on content, believe writing should have been learned before entering the major, or feel unqualified to teach writing.

The second, Strathmore University, is a private university in Kenya that has its roots from Strathmore College, an Advanced-level Sixth Form College (for men only) offering Science and Arts subjects that was started in 1961. Strathmore was Kenya’s first multiracial multi-religious school. In 2002, the Kenyan Commission for University Education awarded Strathmore a Letter of Interim Authority to operate a university and offer the flagship undergraduate Programmes in Commerce and Information Technology. In 2008, Strathmore was awarded a Charter by the Government of Kenya giving it full legal recognition to operate as a private university. Since then, the student population has grown, as have the number of courses offered, including Arts, Law, Mathematics Business, Hospitality and Tourism as well as Finance and Economics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. All undergraduate students take 2 or more courses on Communication Skills where writing is taught. The Strathmore Writing Centre helps students and staff to develop impeccable writing and oral skills.

The third context are two universities from the Czech Republic. VSB-Technical University of Ostrava (the abbreviation stands for Mining College) and Ostrava University. With slightly over 11,000 students, the former educates engineers, IT specialists, and economists. Liberal arts are required, but not relished by the students. Ostrava University has nearly 9,000 students in six faculties. Nationally, writing instruction ends in secondary school. There is no systematic tradition of teaching writing or composition at university. However, this is starting to change with PhD students, as university administrators have recognized the need to produce publications, leading to a search for methods to develop writing in PhD students.

Finally, Elon University is a national liberal arts university located in the United States in the state of North Carolina. The about 6,500 undergraduate students study in either a college of arts and sciences or one of three professional schools: communications, business, or education. Many students are in the professional schools, but all have a strong education in the liberal arts and sciences through a large core curriculum that spans all 4 years of the undergraduate degree, including writing-intensive courses across the 4 years.