Board of Trustees point to problems with University Writing

Members of the Board of Trustees criticized the University Writing classes at its meeting Friday.

UW classes, which the University requires all freshmen take, were first introduced in the fall of 2004. The classes range in topic from nature writing to the definition of “cool” in the 20th century. According to the UW Web site, each class requires 25 to 30 pages of completed writing, but administrators and trustees said professors are not adhering to the original UW requirements.

“What is needed is some standardization among all of the units,” said Lydia Thomas, chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs. “The students are finding their experiences to be inconsistent across the board.”

In an interview after Friday’s Board meeting, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said the writing requirements for UW classes vary tremendously, and that UW classes need to return to the original template that specifies the amount of writing that should be done in a given class.

“That creates problems … (and because the students) don’t do the same things, it makes it very difficult to assess the outcomes (of the program),” he said.

Lehman said a faculty committee is currently reviewing the individual curricula of UW classes.

Also at the meeting, John “Skip” Williams, provost and vice president for Health Affairs, said the School of Medicine and Health Sciences received the highest number of medical school applications in the country this year. There were around 13,260 applicants for 170 seats.

Williams attributed the increase to the new hospital, track programs in global health, public health and policy and urban policy and to a nationwide increase in medical school applicants.

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