I understand the concept of being a well-rounded student. I believe that the purpose of taking general education requirements is to expose students to relevant information and to make sure we leave college with some concept of how the world works. It makes sense.
What I don’t understand is forcing students to take two semesters of composition. To me, Advanced Composition felt like an extension of Freshman Composition. I didn’t feel as though I learned anything particularly new.
There is a class, however, that has the potential to help students after they graduate and are released into the career force. This class is Business and Technical Writing, and it should replace Advanced Composition.
I am currently taking Business and Technical Writing as an elective. In just five weeks of taking it, I feel more prepared than ever to join the professional world. It is an upper division English course that teaches students the basics of correspondence in the workplace. Mary Sheldon, the professor, is a professional who many businesses have called in for help when they are faced with barriers due to employees being unable to effectively communicate with consumers.
Sheldon emphasizes the importance of using positive language when trying to get results, whether that be from co-workers, a boss or a client. Throughout the semester, students also get help creating resumes and cover letters. The class is centered around preparing students for the professional world.
Learning to write a research paper is a valuable skill, but not necessarily a skill that needs to be taught for two semesters. Of course students majoring in psychology or biology, who are performing research of their own, should need an in depth look at writing a research paper. The rest of us, however, need to be ready for the real world. This means knowing how to write letters to our boss about serious matters without offending them, or drafting an email that will go out to the entire company. Who wants to be nervous about something as simple as writing an email? Sending a graduate into the world whose only writing experience is research papers puts them at a disadvantage. Business and Technical Writing is a safe place to mess up and learn without being judged by an employer, and every student at Washburn would benefit from taking this class.