UA debates writing requirement for STEM students

The UA plans to approach the Engineering Deans Advisory Board to further discuss writing requirement options

· December 10, 2013, 12:00 am   ·  Updated December 10, 2013, 12:52 am

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During its last meeting of the semester on Sunday, the Undergraduate Assembly debated the merits of the writing seminar requirement and passed a resolution to develop a mobile app for Penn resources.

Writing requirement for science, math students

The UA debated the benefits of the current critical writing requirement for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Some members believed that a technical writing class instead would be of more use to STEM students.

Wharton and Engineering sophomore Pratyusha Gupta, the UA secretary, said that engineers can take their writing seminar pass/fail and that she thought a technical writing course would motivate them to work harder than they do currently.

Engineering junior Frederick Ding, who is the vice chair for elections of the Nominations and Elections Committee, countered that many Penn STEM students end up in consulting positions where critical writing skills are necessary. The UA plans to approach the Engineering Deans Advisory Board to further discuss writing requirement options.

Penn mobile app development

College junior and UA Vice President Gabe Delaney brought a proposal before the assembly for the development of a Penn mobile app. The app will synthesize information on Penn’s dining and transportation options, as well as course schedules.

Related: New Wharton apps take cues from popular social networks

The UA voted to sponsor the app’s development and will work with the Office of Information Systems and Computing and Penn Apps Labs on the project.

Changes to UA President and VP prerequisites

The UA also voted to change the requirements necessary to run for UA president or vice president. The positions have been popularly elected — rather than internally elected by the UA general body — only since the 2009-2010 election cycle.

Most significantly, the percentage of undergraduate signatures necessary to make the ballot was made variable for candidates for either office. The president can substitute student signatures with signatures from members of the UA general body, while the vice president may do the same with signatures of sitting members of UA Steering.

Additional funding for MERT

The UA also sent out a press release this week announcing that it had secured additional funding for the Medical Emergency Response Team. The Vice Provost for University Life has pledged to increase financial support for the organization to enable EMT training for MERT members.

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