Curriculum Proposal System
Proposal Summary: AS-09-124

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TitleAdd new course - 3300:189
Submitting DeanRONALD LEVANT
Submitting CollegeArts & Sciences -- Annabelle Foos x7937
Departments Generating the ProposalEnglish
Objection DeadlineMarch 06, 2009
Proposal StatusFinal Approval Granted
Proposal Last UpdatedApril 03, 2009 by Karen Greene
Effective DateFall 2009
Brief Summary of ProposalAdd new course-3300:189.
Type of ProposalCourse changes only
Graduate School Endorsement StatusNot required
Graduate School Endorsement UpdatedJanuary 27, 2009 by GS Heather Blake
Institutional Research StatusApproved
IR Status UpdatedFebruary 20, 2009 by IR Anu Mahapatra
Library StatusNot required
Library Status UpdatedJanuary 27, 2009 by UL Diana Chlebek
Distance Learning Review Committee StatusNot required
DLRC Status Updated
General Education Advisory Committee StatusApproved with comment
GEAC CommentGeneral Education Advisory Committee Special Meeting Minutes February 18, 2009 2:00 - 3:00, LH 413 Attendees: Janet Bean, Jeff Franks, Karla Mugler, Dee Dee Pitts, Susan Ramlo, Rex Ramsier, Diana Reep, Kristin Thomas, Ethel Wheland, and Sheldon Wrice We held a special meeting to discuss our concerns about AS-09-124 with representatives from the Department of English and Summit College. A written document, inserted below, and the discussion convinced GEAC that this proposal should be approved. This proposal is, at present, the faculty’s best response to a new OBR policy, and is in the best interest of our students. It is noted that students taking the linked workshop (3300:189) as a co-requisite with the controlled sections of English Composition I (3300:111) may obtain different grades in the two courses, and it is possible that a student failing 189 but passing 111 may, in the future, wish to retake 189 for a change of grade. Since the courses are linked, this retake would not be possible without also retaking 111. This is a possible ramification of the proposed structure that needs to be made clear to students when enrolling and during advising sessions. Memo To: GEAC members From: Janet Bean, Interim Director of Composition Date: February 16, 2009 Re: Support-Intensive Composition (Comp I +Workshop) Thank you for making time to attend the special meeting on Wednesday. I am writing to provide further context for English Department’s course proposal (3300:189 Composition Workshop) and to address the concerns you raised. Rationale for Change In December 2007, the Ohio Board of Regents’ Secondary to College Articulation Committee issued Statewide Placement Policy Recommendations. This document establishes a verbal ACT score of 18 or a COMPASS score of 69 as the minimum benchmarks for placement into college Composition. It also encourages the use of writing samples for placement. Because our benchmarks for placement were significantly lower than the new state requirements, we have had to revise our placement policies. A significant number of students will be affected by the new benchmarks for Composition. In Fall 2008, approximately 450 students of incoming students had a verbal ACT of 16 or 17. These students placed into Composition I under our current policies but would not qualify under the new state requirements. Dean Karla Mugler conducted research on the performance of students with an ACT English score of 16-17 in Composition I. She found these students passed the course at about the same rate as the total population of Composition I students (approximately 80%). Therefore, placing these students—who have been generally successful in Composition I—into Basic Writing is problematic. What We Propose • The creation of more “portals” for placing into Composition I. Academic advising currently uses two instruments for placement into Composition I: ACT/SAT scores and COMPASS scores. In Fall 2009, two additional instruments will be used: the ACT writing test (for those students who have taken this optional test) and the e-Write test (which will be administered on campus). With the addition of these tests to our placement procedures, students will have the opportunity to place into Composition I through a standardized, multiple choice test (ACT/SAT/COMPASS) or through a scored writing sample (ACT Writing Test/e-Write). Preliminary research conducted by Dean Mugler suggests that one third of students with ACT scores of 16 or 17 will place into Composition I through other portals. • The creation of an intermediary level of Composition that falls between Basic Writing and regular Composition I. This support-intensive approach will link special sections of Composition I to a Workshop that will provide students with more individual instruction and collaboration. Enrollment will be capped at 20. The one-credit Workshop course will count toward graduation. How the Course will be Implemented • Specific sections of Composition I will be designated as support-intensive and linked to a Workshop section. The sections will be controlled and advisors will directly enroll students into the appropriate sections. Students must enroll in both courses. The registrar already has a system in place to insure that students enroll in linked courses. • These courses will be staffed in two ways: 1) both the Composition course and the Workshop will be taught by the same instructor, or 2) the Workshop will be taught by a TA who is working closely with the instructor of the linked course. • Because they are separate courses, separate grades will be given in the Composition I course and the Workshop. Based on discussions with the Directors of Composition at OSU and UT, it is clear that grading the Workshop can pose challenges. We will follow the lead of OSU and inact a policy that requires 80% attendance for successful completion of the Workshop course and ties the work of the workshop closely to the work of the Composition course. Eventually, we may decide, as UT did, to combine the two courses under a separate number. However, this is not an option for us at the present because of time constraints. Responses to the Concerns of GEAC • The course is not required. After discussion with Dean Mugler and Nancy Roadruck, I agree that making the course optional is not the best approach. Students will be placed into Composition I + Workshop based on their test scores. (See attached document on Composition Placement) • There is no data that this approach will be effective. This pedagogical approach, (linking gateway first-year courses to support-intensive workshops) has a proven track record at universities across the country in a variety of disciplines, including English Composition, Calculus, Physics, and Chemistry. Both OSU and the University of Toledo offer a Composition + Workshop course. Research conducted by the Director of Composition at UT has shown that students who complete Composition I + Workshop go on to complete Composition II with a higher success rate than those who took regular Composition (despite having lower ACT scores). The effectiveness of this course may be attributed to the small class size, greater opportunities for collaboration, and more individualized attention from the instructor. • What about consistency between the English Department’s Comp I and Summit College’s 121 course? Of the Summit students with an ACT score of 16 and 17, the majority are provisional students who will enroll in 3300: 111. A much smaller number, between 35-45 students, are in an associate’s degree program and will enroll in 2020:121. Sheldon Wrice and I have consulted, and Summit will offer its own version of support-intensive 121. The placement standards will be the same for both 3300:111 and 2020:121. • “The workshop seems like an ‘add-on’ rather than a thoughtful approach to redesign English Composition to address student needs.” The University of Akron has a diverse student population with a wide range of preparedness for college-level writing. The addition of another level of Composition (Comp I + Workshop) will allow us to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of incoming students while maintaining high standards for academic achievement. This proposal, if passed, will allow more students will be able to complete their Composition requirement in the first year and will avoid taking remedial coursework. Many Universities in the Ohio System (including Kent State, OSU, and the University of Toledo) have already implemented support-intensive Composition courses to better meet the needs of students who enter the university with border-line writing skills. The pedagogical foundation of our proposal—providing structured support to the core course by reducing class size and increasing contact time between students/faculty—is widely accepted as a best practice in the field of Composition. Especially in the current political climate, when funding for remedial coursework is being pulled from universities, it is important to take a pro-active stance and create more flexible frameworks for the teaching of core courses. • What if a student decided to drop the Workshop course? Can a student get credit for Composition I if they don’t pass the Workshop? The courses will be linked through the registrar. If they dropped one of the courses, they would have to drop the other. Because they are separate courses, it is possible for a student to pass the Composition course and fail the lab (just as it’s possible to pass Chemistry and fail Chemistry Lab). Students must meet the same standards and produce the same quality of work to pass the Composition I course as they would if they were in any other section of Composition I. • What about the curriculum? Will it focus on writing or just grammar? The workshop will focus on student writing. It will not be a skill and drill grammar course. There will be a strong focus, however, on sentence-level issue and style—because the students in our target population often need the most help in this area. Attention will also be paid to larger writing issues, like focusing, developing ideas, tone, and rhetorical conventions.
GEAC Status UpdatedFebruary 19, 2009 by PR Rex Ramsier
Resource RequirementsNo additional resources
Resource Requirements UpdatedFebruary 20, 2009 by AS dean's ofc Cathy Moore


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