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Student Learning Objectives from the "" college of arts and science


Undergraduate Programs

Students in English courses intended to fulfill University writing requirements in first-year and junior composition will fulfill the following goals:

  • Demonstrate the ability to write rhetorically
    a. Students will write in various genres while enacting appropriate rhetorical strategies that employ metacognitive processes such as summary, analysis, response, critique, and synthesis.
    b. Students will compose original arguments that evaluate, analyze, and synthesize primary and secondary texts (including visual texts) and those texts’ structural framework (thesis statement, evidence, and support) as well as their rhetorical purposes, audiences, and situations.
    c. Students will engage in multiple drafting and revision.
    d. Students will practice and control rhetorical stylistics such as the effects of grammar, diction, mechanics, font, arrangement, etc.
  • Demonstrate the ability to read rhetorically
    a. Students will identify, analyze, and employ the language of rhetorical analysis and argument while discussing texts. This language includes ethos, pathos, logos, audience, tone, voice, evidence, etc.
    b. Students will examine and evaluate in-text documentation.
    c. Students will identify and analyze various genres, their conventions, and how they respond to rhetorical conventions.
    d. Students will identify and analyze rhetorical stylistics such as effects of grammar, diction, mechanics, font, arrangement, etc.
  • Demonstrate the ability to research rhetorically
    a. Students will identify appropriate sources through databases (electronic and more traditional.
    b. Students will evaluate sources for quality and appropriateness.
    c. Students will paraphrase and summarize material accurately.
    d. Students will practice synthesizing sources.
    e. Students will integrate quotations, visuals, etc., appropriately and with correct style and citations
    f. Students will use attributive tags, in-text citations, documentation, and style sheets in appropriate ways.
    g. Students will understand plagiarism and its consequences
  • Demonstrate the ability to assess student writing rhetorically
    a. Students will understand writing as a recursive process that is also collaborative and socially-constructed.
    b. Students will learn to develop their own ideas in relation to the ideas of others.
    c. Students will employ the languages of rhetorical analysis ((ethos, pathos, logos, evidence, support, etc.) and of genres and metacognitive processes (summary, analysis, response, critique, and synthesis) to critique their own and others’ ideas.
    d. Students will identify and understand their peers’ rhetorical purposes, audiences, and situations, and the relationship among these throughout the drafting and revision process.
    e. Students will identify correct documentation and sentence-level conventions throughout the drafting and revision process.

Students in English courses intended for general education will be taught to:

  • Form strategies for critically reading both printed and visual texts;
  • Understand the fundamentals of literary analysis, with attention to the importance of genres and forms as well as the cultural contexts of literature;
  • Develop analytical writing skills, with an emphasis on the construction of cogent arguments and the marshalling of supporting evidence;
  • Comprehend a variety of literary expressions from diverse cultures and social situations and be aware of the importance of gender, class, race, and geographical location as categories for literary analysis; and
  • Develop an appreciation and enjoyment of literature as well as analytical perspectives and vocabularies that are portable to a variety of professions and disciplines.
Courses for Majors
Students in courses intended for English Majors will be taught to:
  • Recognize and appreciate the different historical periods of literary production, including the varied cultural contexts for literature;
  • Develop an understanding of literary genres and conventions as well as the changes they exhibit over time;
  • Master different strategies of interpretation and criticism and employ a sophisticated critical and theoretical vocabulary for literary analysis;
  • Display expertise at analytical thinking in a variety of formats: short essays, research papers, and critical reviews of secondary sources;
  • Develop skills for oral presentations, with attention to rhetorical focus, sense of audience, and effective organization of material;
  • Become familiar with and employ a variety of resources for English study, including electronic and printed databases;
  • Locate and evaluate archival and secondary sources for research in English;
  • Develop a respect for the richness and diversity of language usage that is apparent across cultures, ethnic groups, geographical regions, and social situations.
Note: In addition to the objectives stated above, Integrated Language Arts Majors will be taught to prepare for the requirements of licensure exams, with a special focus on broadening their understanding of literature appropriate for a diverse classroom population.

Students intending to be Creative Writing Majors will be taught all of the objectives for English Majors and the following:

  • Discover pre-writing, writing, and revising processes that can lead to poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction;
  • Explore new and more challenging strategies for writing poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction;
  • Develop a working knowledge of and wide reading within the tradition;
  • Develop a theoretical understanding of one’s values and aspirations as a writer;
  • Produce significant achievement in one of the genres; for those students who wish to pursue creative writing at the graduate level, this goal includes a portfolio of work that will gain the student entrance into a graduate program in creative writing.
Graduate Programs

Objectives for graduate study in Creative Writing
include developing the technical skills to craft imaginative literature; an advanced knowledge of the generic distinctiveness of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction; a familiarity with the practical and philosophical-conceptual aspects of literary theory; critical-analytical skills required of thoughtful, independent readers; and university teaching skills in Literature classes, Creative Writing workshops, and composition.

Objectives for graduate study in Rhetoric and Composition
include an advanced knowledge of rhetorical and composition history and theory; the relationship of the histories and theories to composition teaching; scholarly writing ability; critical/analytical reading abilities; strong teaching abilities in rhetoric and composition and in literature where appropriate; and the beginnings of a scholarly record through conferences and publications.

Objectives for graduate study in Literature
include an advanced knowledge of British and American literary history; a familiarity with the long tradition of literary criticism; an engagement with theoretical problems of literary interpretation; scholarly writing skills; knowledge of collateral intellectual areas (e.g., foreign language, history, philosophy); and university teaching skills, especially in Literature classes and composition.

The desired outcome for all these tracks at the MA level
is a mastery of rhetorical, imaginative, interpretive, and pedagogical skills that will allow students to achieve intellectual maturity as humanistic thinkers, writers, and teachers, especially as such skills are applied to the written (and sometimes visual) text. The desired outcome at the Ph.D. level includes an even more advanced level of mastery of these skills, as well as an initial experience of active professionalism within academia, including modes of scholarly interaction and productivity beyond the home institution (conferences, publications, professional organizations, and others).

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