UNIVERSITY  OF RHODE ISLAND
Faculty Senate

                                                                    November 22, 2005

Faculty Senate Curricular Affairs Committee
Four Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Report

Proposed Bachelor of Arts Degree in Writing and Rhetoric

S E C T I O N  I

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

ABSTRACT

The proposed Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric is a 120-credit program for undergraduate students who seek a career in professional writing, teaching, or publishing and will be the only writing major offered by a New England land-grant institution.  Delivered with minimal new costs, this B.A. program is designed for students who want a liberal arts degree that also emphasizes the applied arts and technical skills that employers value.

On October 31, 2005 the Curricular Affairs Committee agreed that the proposed B.A. degree program in Writing and Rhetoric would be an outstanding addition to the University’s undergraduate programs and voted to recommend approval of the degree to be funded at the Class A level. (Class A recommends immediate allocation of funds for implementation.).  Following reviews by the Council of Deans and the Budget Office, the Curricular Affairs Committee voted on November 21, 2005 to reaffirm its recommendation.

BACKGROUND

The proposal for a B.A. degree in writing and rhetoric was approved by the faculty of the College Writing Program on April 20, 2005 and by the Curriculum Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences on May 16, 2005.  On September 21, 2005 the proposal was approved at a meeting of the College of Arts and Sciences faculty.  This proposal was reviewed by the Curricular Affairs Committee and approved at the Class A Level at its meeting of October 31, 2005.

On November 9, 2005, the Council of Deans approved the proposed B.A. degree with suggested modifications, which were subsequently incorporated into the final draft.

In the Budget Office review, Budget Director Linda Barrett noted on November 15, 2005 that the program will “utilize the existing director's position, 8 existing faculty positions, library materials, educational supplies, equipment and space.”  She also stated that that the finance section of the proposal projects positive net revenue for the program's first four years.

The Curricular Affairs Committee met on November 21, 2005 and reaffirmed its approval of the proposed B. A. Degree in Writing and Rhetoric at the Class A level.

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S E C T I O N  II

RECOMMENDATION

The Curricular Affairs Committee has reviewed the proposal and considered all of the comments forwarded to it by the various bodies. On November 21, 2005, the committee voted to recommend to the Faculty Senate that the proposed B. A. Degree in Writing and Rhetoric be approved at the Class A level. The proposal is in the format required by the Board of Governors for Higher Education.  The complete proposal is available for downloading in PDF format at http://www.uri.edu/facsen/BA_WRT&RHET.pdf

PROPOSAL FOR A B.A. IN WRITING AND RHETORIC
A.  General Information
1.   Name of institution: University of Rhode Island
2.   Name of college:   College of Arts and Sciences
                          College Writing Program
3.   Title of proposed program:     Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric
4.   Intended initiation date:     Academic year following approval
Intended starting date:    Fall 2006
Anticipated date of first degrees granted:  Spring 2008
5.  Intended location of program:     University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
6.  Description of institutional review and approval process:

DATE APPROVED
College Writing Program                                                
April 20, 2005
College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Comm.                       
May 16, 2005
Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences                           
September 27, 2005
Faculty Senate Curricular Affairs Committee
October 31, 2005
November 21, 2005
Faculty Senate


President of the University

7. Summary description of the proposed program:
The proposed Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric is a 120-credit program for undergraduate students who seek a career in professional writing, teaching, or publishing and will be the only writing major offered by a New England land-grant institution.  Delivered with minimal new costs, this B.A. program is designed for students who want a liberal arts degree that also emphasizes the applied arts and technical skills that employers value.  The B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric will provide graduates with a strong foundation in rhetorical theory and composing strategies as well as familiarity with various writing technologies.  Graduates of the program will be qualified for positions in business, industry, education, public agencies, or community organizations —positions that demand good writing and the ability to draft, design, and deliver informative or persuasive documents for a variety of audiences and in a variety of collaborative situations.  In particular, graduates will be well suited for jobs in the publishing industries (marketing, sales, and editorial work) and will be well prepared through the study of rhetoric for graduate education in a number of different fields.  Graduates will leave URI with an electronic portfolio suitable for sharing with prospective employers that will demonstrate their ability to design and write a number of different documents, targeted to different audiences and purposes.

The College Writing Program will continue to provide General Education courses that fulfill English Communication-Writing (ECw) and support already-established outreach services, including the Writing Center and the Undergraduate Peer Consultants program. The College Writing Program will also continue to support the writing minor for those students who seek to enhance their major program of study with courses in argument and persuasion, electronic writing, technical writing, or rhetorical theory.
 
8. Signature of President

   ______________________________________________
   Robert L. Carothers, President

9. Name of Person(s) to contact during the review:
    Professor Nedra Reynolds, Director, College Writing Program
    319 Roosevelt Hall
    874-4665 or 874-5932
    nedra@uri.edu

B. Rationale

The needs addressed by this new degree program are well documented. A recent survey of leading American businesses reveals that employees are required to write more than ever before (see the report Writing: A Ticket to Work...Or a Ticket Out from the National Commission on Writing for America's Families, Schools, and Colleges).  Especially in those business sectors with the most projected growth, writing is critical for success, yet businesses say that many college graduates don't have the writing skills they need.  Writers today need to produce such documents as proposals, print or online instructions, reports, and newsletters—as well as research reports, many including graphs, charts, maps, illustrations, and other elements of visual communication.

The College Writing Program can respond to these recognized needs for writing instruction in the following ways:
C. Institutional Role

The proposed program is consistent with the role of the institution in its emphasis on students’ ethical development, on students’ capabilities as critical and independent thinkers, and on students’ need to be active participants in their own learning.  Very few intellectual activities demand as much critical thinking or as much active participation as writing does.  As part of the Liberal Arts and General Education Core, the study of rhetoric and composition guides students in achieving clarity of expression with diverse audiences in a wide variety of contexts. Rhetoric's crucial role in public life has been recognized for centuries, and study in this discipline helps students recognize, value, and understand different cultural values as they learn to write clearly and effectively about their own critical stances.  The new B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric will meet rapidly changing needs of the State and the country.  In our role in training future teachers and our commitments to community service learning, the College Writing Program contributes to the University's and College's various outreach efforts as well as to the institutional mission.


At the Undergraduate level the College Writing Program will continue to support general education, the minor in writing and the College of Business Administration maintain close working relationships with undergraduate programs that require specialized writing courses and with related departments (English, Communication Studies, and Journalism).

D. Interinstitutional Considerations  

All institutions of higher education in the state and region offer writing instruction as an important element in undergraduate education. Within the state and region, all colleges and universities offer composition instruction at the basic level (first-year composition); some offer developmental or remedial composition classes; and many offer advanced undergraduate courses in areas such as technical writing, business communication, writing in academic disciplines, and advanced composition.  However, URI’s writing major will be the first for a New England land-grant institution and the only one of its kind in the state. In the region, only Rowan University (N.J.), SUNY-Cortland, and the University of Maryland offer a writing major.

E. Program

A total of 120 credits is required for graduation.  At least 42 of these must be in courses numbered 300 or above.  Students choosing this major must fulfill the requirements of the Basic Liberal Studies program and complete 30 credits (maximum 51), including WRT 201, WRT 235, WRT 360, WRT 490 and WRT 495.  At least 15 credits for the major must be completed from writing courses numbered 300 or above.  A maximum of 6 credits for the major may be taken in online courses or through distance learning.  Writing majors will be strongly encouraged to complete a practicum experience, either the internship or fieldwork course. Writing majors will also be encouraged to consider a double major or to select a minor in another field of study.  Undergraduates wishing to take courses on the 500 level must secure the permission of the faculty member.


Course Requirements for the B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric
Course Number Course Title Credit Hours Semester Offered
WRT 201 Writing Argumentative & Persuasive Texts 3 F, S
WRT 235 Writing in Electronic Environments
3
F, S
WRT 360
Composing Processes and Canons of Rhetoric
3 F
WRT 490 Writing and Rhetoric 3 F
WRT 495* Capstone in Electronic Portfolios
3 S
*pending final approval

Additional 15 credit hours of departmental offerings in writing at the 300-level or above.

                                                                                             
Total Major Credit Hours:
30
General Education Core and Distribution Requirements Credit Hours: 39
Free Elective Credit Hours: 51
Total Credit Hours:
120

Sample Program of Study
 
First Semester (15 cr) Second Semester (15 cr)
First year
WRT at the 100 level for Gen. Ed. (3) Basic Liberal Studies requirements (9)
Free elective (3) Free elective (3)
Language (3) Language (3)
Basic Liberal Studies requirements (6)
                     
Second year
WRT 201 (3) WRT 235 (3)
Electives in major (3) Electives in major (3)
Free electives (3) Basic Liberal Studies requirements (6)
Basic Liberal Studies requirements (6) Free electives (3)

Third year
WRT 360 (3) Electives in major (9)
Electives in major (6) Free electives (6)
Free electives (3)

Basic Liberal Studies requirements (3) 


Fourth year
WRT 490 (3) WRT 495 (3)
Electives in major (3) Electives in major (3)
  Free electives (9) Free electives (9)
    
Courses and catalog numbers. Descriptions for new courses are found in the 434th and 435th Reports of the Curricular Affairs Committee.
    
WRT 201 Writing Argumentative and Persuasive Texts
WRT 227 Business Communications
WRT 235 Writing in Electronic Environments
WRT 270*Writing in the Expressivist Tradition.
WRT 302 Writing Culture
WRT 303 Public Writing
WRT 304 Writing for Community Service
WRT 305 Travel Writing
WRT 333 Scientific and Technical Writing
WRT 353: Issues and Methods in Writing Consultancy
WRT 360* Composing Processes and the Canons of Rhetoric
WRT 383: Field Experience in Writing Consultancy
WRT 435 (or EDC 435) The Teaching of Composition
WRT 484*Internship in Writing and Rhetoric
WRT 490 Writing and Rhetoric
WRT 495*Capstone in Electronic Portfolios
WRT 512 Studies in Rhetorical Theory
WRT 524 Histories and Theories of Teaching Composition

* new courses
**pending approval

F. Faculty
Faculty Member Degree Rank
Status FTE New/Reassigned
Jeremiah Dyehouse Ph.D. Asst Prof Tenure-track 1.00 Reassignment
Celest Martin Ph.D.
Assoc Prof Tenured 1.00 Reassignment
Elizabeth Miles Ph.D. Assoc Prof Tenured 1.00
Reassignment
Michael Pennell Ph.D. Asst Prof Tenure-track 1.00 Reassignment
Nedra Reynolds Ph.D. Professor Tenured 1.00 Reassignment
Robert Schwegler Ph.D. Professor Tenured 1.00 Reassignment
Linda Shamoon
M.A. Professor Tenured 1.00 Reassignment
Sue Vaughn
M.A. Assoc Prof Tenured  .50 Reassignment
Pat Logan Ph.D.
Professor Tenured  .33 Reassignment
                      
G. Students

Potential students for this new major will be interested in careers in professional and technical writing, tutoring and teaching writing, editing and publishing, rhetorical and composing theory, personal writing, nonfiction writing, document and information design and writing for public audiences and public service.  Since this will be the only writing major in the state, some in-state students will now have another option for a major field of study.  Of students enrolled in WRT courses at URI during the spring of 2005, 19.8% of those surveyed (n=597) were either “Interested” or “Very Interested” in a writing major.  A small percentage of those students who have declared a writing minor may be interested in declaring a major since they will have some of the requirements completed already.  The proposed major in Writing and Rhetoric will attract some students whose undergraduate majors currently include English, Communication Studies, or Journalism.  Students in these majors tend to be interested in writing and may find that this degree program meets their needs; however, students interested in creative writing will be better served by the writing minor.  A number of students may find that a B.A. in writing will serve them well as a double major.

H. Administration


The College Writing Program will use the same administrative structure as in the current College Writing Program; consequently no additional administrative costs will be incurred. There will be no effect on the administrative structure in the College of Arts and Sciences. These administrative positions are
<>There will be no additional annual administrative costs associated with the new program.  The College Writing Program has been an independent academic unit since 2002, and this proposed change does not increase administrative responsibilities.
I. Instructional Resources

Existing library materials currently used to support teachers and researchers in the College Writing Program and instructional activities are adequate to support the faculty's teaching and research needs. These library resources are currently supplemented by URI's Writing Center's library and by the faculty's own private subscriptions to the major professional journals.

The periodical collection is not adequate to support students' research papers in specialized upper level courses focused on professional writing and rhetoric, and particularly scientific, technical, and business writing. To fill this gap in the periodical collection, we propose adding four national journals to the library's collection: the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and Written Communication. Each of these journals publishes studies appropriate for undergraduate research in several of the College Writing Program’s upper level courses (e.g., WRT 227, WRT 333, and WRT 360). The cost of these journal acquisitions will amount to $1387 for the first year's subscriptions.

The College Writing Program will make the same use of the instructional resources currently available to the College Writing Program to support WRT courses.

J. Facilities and Capital Equipment

Classrooms and office space are adequate to launch the proposed program.


K. Financial Considerations

Because the College Writing Program has been an independent academic unit since 2002, with its own budget, there are no initiation costs.  Expenses will be required for new library resources (beginning at $1,387 per year).  Beginning in Year 3 of the new program, an additional five sections per year will need to be covered by per-course instructors.

Tuition rates and mandatory fee rates have been provided for this proposal by Linda Barrett, Director, Budget and Financial Planning. No additional student fees will be instituted for this program.

L. Evaluation

The College Writing Program will use four performance measures to continually review current practices and implement appropriate revisions.

First is the assessment of student learning outcomes, both for our General Education commitment and for our Major in Writing & Rhetoric. Evaluation will take place annually on a different set of outcomes.

Second, at intervals established for all departments, we will use the model for program assessment approved by the university. The Office of the Provost and the President will receive and assess the results of this instrument.

Third, we will request that an outside evaluation be performed by the Consultation-Evaluator Program of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, the nationally recognized evaluation service for writing programs. year cycle.

Fourth, we will implement a community-feedback survey to examine two
constituencies: students engaged in service-learning, internships, and other experiential opportunities; and those employed in the workplace after graduation. In both cases, the College Writing Program will administer a questionnaire to organizations working with our students to evaluate the appropriateness of our students’ training for the work they are being expected to perform.