WSU should emphasize writing skills, courses more

More options should be provided for improving students ability to read, write at college level



Having solid professional writing skills is essential regardless of your major, even if you’ll only use them when preparing your resume. The more opportunities WSU offers for learning these skills, the more students succeed.

BRUCE MULMAT, Former Evergreen opinion editor

Reading and writing are essential skills, but they are often pushed aside in college for the technical understanding and specialization most majors require. These skills should be fundamental to WSU students since additional English classes, writing workshops and reading clubs create stronger writers in every major.

Every job requires the ability to read and write, even just for creating a resume. Texting or creating an email is an extension of writing and is a critical part of daily life.

All majors do have to take “Writing in the Major” classes, but these are often viewed as more tedious or not as important as more major-oriented classes.

The Junior Writing Portfolio is intended as a checkpoint to ensure juniors are ready for classes that focus on writing in their fields, WSU English instructor Kate Watts said.

Major-specific writing courses are especially necessary for students in fields that do not emphasize strong writing, more practice taken earlier as an undergrad providing a stronger base.

The Writing Portfolio only ensures that students will remember the skills they need to get their degree, but practice set in throughout college would ensure they remember them for their careers.

“The goal was to catch students who are about to take these 300 or 400 level classes,” Watts said. “So that students are ready for that level of writing needed.”

Preparing for technical writing is not the only thing students should focus on. Storytelling is an incredibly important aspect of our lives. When someone asks us how our day went we tell a story about what’s happened to us. It’s an important social skill and is applicable to relaying knowledge to another person. Creating metaphors and analogies helps synthesize and relate information, both for yourself and others wanting to understand your way of thinking.

Another lower level English class is one way to improve students’ writing. The class would not focus on technical writing. More expansive English classes would expose students to other styles of writing and skills to help improve their way of expression, helping them find their writing voice.

Costs and scheduling are a huge barrier to implementing other English classes into UCORE. A cheaper alternative to students wishing to strengthen their writing skills would be more clubs focused on reading and writing. These clubs would give students a place to have their documents reviewed and expose them to different kinds of writing, developing the students’ own style.

If students struggle in classes with a large amount of writing, writing-related clubs would help them through it. If the club meeting times do not work for you, the writing center offers another place for aid now, but more options should be available to students.

Being able to craft a written document is a critical aspect of life, no matter what field someone is in. While taking a class that is outside of one’s major may seem like it is not as important as other classes, English classes can help provide an edge in every job. It might not be the first choice for many students because of extra schoolwork and it would impact schedules, but it would make WSU students even more competitive in the job market once they graduate by having more experience in other fields.