Universities across the country are failing society by producing class after class of “college graduates” that never learned college-level writing skills. College students generally cannot write well, and the fault lies entirely with the universities.
GW, finally realizing that English 10 and 11 are merely extensions of high school English courses that many students consider useless, is following in the footsteps of schools such as Harvard, Princeton and Duke universities by revamping English instruction with a new concentration in writing.
One-third of next year’s freshman class will take a four-credit course focusing on critical reading, analysis, electronic sources and careful editing. GW is making a $1 million investment over three years to implement this program, which will eventually be mandatory for all freshmen.
The new course, dubbed University Writing 20, is intended to enhance students’ writing skills. A writing program director will be assigned to observe the implementation of the program.
Writing is the basis of all education, and if instructed thoroughly, encourages comprehensive understanding of many disciplines. Writing is a life skill, one that leads to qualities like logical thinking and rational decisions. But career-driven students at GW often overlook it in pursuit of more specific interests in fields like political science or public health, both of which require a mastery of clear and succinct writing.
It is imperative the University follows through with this plan and makes these classes as intense and useful as possible. If the University plans on making writing a priority it should ensure top-notch professors willing to challenge the writing ability of all GW students.