As part of the implementation of a mandatory freshman writing requirement, the School of Arts and Sciences is offering three experimental writing labs as an alternative to traditional recitations. The labs, offered to students in American Civilization 7, Art History 101, and History 164, are designed to improve students' writing and to meet the faculty's 1988 mandate for a writing requirement. The sections are open to freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Students enrolled in the labs will receive two units of credit and attend class for four extra hours a week. Requirements vary from class to class, but instructors said the students in the labs will do extra reading and several papers more than students in normal recitations. The SAS faculty committee devising the writing requirement created the writing labs. The labs, along with two writing-intensive freshmen seminars, will be run as a pilot program this year. SAS Associate Undergraduate Dean Norman Adler said the program will be funded beyond this academic year if it is successful. "If it is important we'll do it no matter what the cost," Adler said. "We [SAS administrators] are absolutely committed to fufilling the faculty mandate of a writing requirement," Adler said. Although many faculty members are lauding new writing labs, few students are expected to attend the first sessions. The special sessions have low enrollment because they were not listed in the freshman course guide, program organizers said yesterday. Adler sent a letter to students who preregistered for the three classes and encouraged them to take the sections. But Adler said yesterday that some of the labs are still not filled. Todd Barnett, instructor for the American Civilization section, said he is excited about the labs because he will have more time to work with the students than he would in normal Writing Across The University sections. "I was pretty unhappy with it [the traditional recitation]," Barnett said. "I felt it was just luck if I could teach them something with only one paper a semester." Despite enthusiasm for the labs, one faculty member yesterday expressed reservations about the program's future. The faculty member, who requested anonymity, said School of Arts and Sciences administrators may not expand the program into other subjects because of the labs' expense. The teaching assistants will teach only 15 students instead of the 45 a TA normally instructs.Comments powered by Disqus
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