Administrative Issues Journal


College students have difficulty in written communication, despite attempts by universities to place English courses in the “core curriculum.” Although many companies indicate that writing is an expected competency, and many companies consider writing when they promote, students still enter the workforce with poor grammar skills. Clear and concise communication is especially important in the health professions, where life-and-death decisions may be made based on written communication. Instructors in a large southwestern university used the concept of “selection” to provide more opportunities for students to practice their writing skills. Students could self-select up to 19 written assignments throughout the semester, with papers being 1-3 pages in length. An assignment was due each week, which required more student planning. From a grading perspective, the pilot project seemed to indicate that the more assignments that students submitted, the better their writing became. Despite this, students gave negative feedback about the assignments. In addition, the instructors found the pilot to be labor-intensive, averaging 20 hours per week for grading, and does not recommend the activity for tenure-track faculty.