At Wittenberg, each student should achieve a level of competency in writing that provides the necessary foundation for subsequent college work and further learning and should also strengthen writing with continued practice.
To start, each student needs to take English 101 during one of the first two semesters and earn a grade of C- or S, unless that student is exempted by a demonstration of writing competency through national tests, as certified by the Department of English.
Also, all students are required to demonstrate successfully their writing proficiency in six courses designated as writing intensive, at least two of which must be taken as part of the student's major. Failure to demonstrate such proficiency will result in no credit for writing proficiency in that course. A student may earn graduation credit for the course even if writing proficiency is not demonstrated, but the student may not graduate until successful writing proficiency is evinced in six writing-intensive courses. Writing-intensive courses may be used to meet other general education learning goals. Writing-intensive courses are designated with a W or Z in the section number throughout the master schedule of classes published each semester by the Registrar's Office.
Why do we require so much writing? Because writing matters. In a 2004 report from the National Commission on Writing, "Writing: A Ticket to Work . . . Or a Ticket Out," several major American corporations were surveyed, and their comments made it clear that "in today's workplace writing is a "threshold skill" for hiring and promotion among salaried (i.e., professional) employees" Some of the findings from the report include the following:
- People who cannot write and communicate clearly will not be hired and are unlikely to last long enough to be considered for promotion.
- Two-thirds of salaried employees in large American companies have some writing responsibility.
- Eighty percent or more of the companies in the service and finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sectors, the corporations with the greatest employment/growth potential, assess writing during hiring.
- A similar dynamic is at work during promotions. Half of all companies take writing into account when making promotion decisions. (To read the full report, click here.)
So, writing matters in the working world, and that's part of the reason why it matters at Wittenberg.