PULLMAN — For the sixth straight year, Writing Programs at Washington State University has earned national recognition by landing a top place in U.S. News & World Report rankings. Writing Programs recognition is published in “America’s Best Colleges 2007” report.
Since 2001, Writing Programs, in the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE), has been in the news magazine’s annual list of “Academic Programs to Watch For.” This fall, 28 institutions are cited for excellence in making “the writing process a priority at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum” and for encouraging students “to produce and refine various forms of writing for different audiences in different disciplines.”
Only 11 public universities appear on this year’s list, and only 8 – including WSU – have made the list every year since its inception. Some of WSU’s peers in the new 2007 list are Harvard, Princeton, Clemson, Duke, George Mason, Indiana, Purdue, and Missouri universities.
“It’s an honor for us to be recognized as on par with the writing programs at Ivy League and other outstanding schools, but the fact is that WSU has developed an innovative and effective set of programs that serve as a national model,” said Mary Wack, OUE interim director and dean of the Honors College.
“Every student’s writing is assessed at entry to ensure that they are prepared to take advantage of the many written communication opportunities they will have in their general education courses. Prior to the start of their junior year, students compile a personal portfolio that faculty read and assess, helping to assure that those students needing assistance with their writing will get it as they complete at least two Writing in the Major courses as juniors and seniors,” explained Bill Condon, Writing Programs director.
Over the past 15 years, WSU has infused writing throughout its curriculum. The National Survey of Student Engagement indicates that students here complete at least 10 written assignments a year. Given the amount of writing that students do and the resources available in the Writing Center for them to seek help when they need it, WSU alumni have become known for their ability to write as they move beyond their undergraduate years, Condon said.
Writing Programs, established in the mid-1980s, is made up of the Writing Center, proving tutorial instruction for the development, organization, and drafting of papers; Writing Across the Curriculum, helping faculty with writing assignments and evaluations as well as the Critical Thinking Program; group tutorials, featuring peer assistance and tutoring for English 102 and General Education 302; and the Writing Assessment Program, overseeing the freshman Writing Placement Exam as well as the Junior Portfolio.
Usage of Writing Programs services has more than doubled in the past decade, with as many as 40,000 student contacts yearly through the Writing Center and the Writing Assessment Program alone. It is one of six core units in WSU’s Office of Undergraduate Education.
More information on the magazine rankings can be found online at http://usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/brief/acadprogs08_brief.php