General Education: Critical Reading and Writing II
“To Read Critically and to Write with Clarity and Precision”
The above statement has guided Ramapo College’s writing and reading mandates since the inception of the college. This broad and sweeping statement of purpose, which was to define our obligation to our students, provided the basis for the Critical Reading & Writing Program. Critical Reading & Writing is housed within the School of Humanities and Global Studies, where it responds to the college-wide mandate stated above. The current Critical Reading & Writing program is one four credit college English experience offered to all first-year students and those transfer students who have not had a similar experience at their previous institution.
By the end of the program (Critical Reading and Writing II), students should demonstrate an ability to work within the following guidelines:
- To apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They should draw upon prior experience, interact with other readers and writers, indicate knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, awareness and use of word identification strategies, and show and understanding of textual features (e.g. sentence structure, content, graphics).
- To apply an understanding of the need to adjust spoken, written, and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes.
- To indicate knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.
- To conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. To gather, evaluate, and synthesize date from a variety of sources, and to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
- To use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g. libraries, databases, computer networks, video, blogs, wikis) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- To develop an understanding and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.
- To participate as knowledgeable reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literary communities.
- To use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g. for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Specific skills and strategies learned within the writing program:
- Rhetorical Knowledge
- Focus on a purpose
- Respond to the needs of different audiences
- Respond appropriately to different kinds of rhetorical situations
- Use conventions of format and structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation
- Adopt appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality
- Write in several genres
- Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing
- Use reading and writing for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating
- Understand a writing assignment as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate primary and secondary sources.
- Integrate their own ideas with the ides of others
- Understand the relationships among language, knowledge and power
- Writing Processes
- An awareness that it usually takes multiple drafts to create and complete a successful text
- Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proof-reading
- Understand writing as an open process that permits writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise their work
- Understand the collaborative and social aspects of the writing processes
- Learn to critique their own and others’ work
- Knowledge of Conventions
- Learn common formats for different kinds of texts
- Develop knowledge of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and audience.
- Practice and indicate knowledge of appropriate means of documenting their work.
- Control surface features in writing such as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Desired outcomes for this program must include an awareness of the responsibility to address the reading and writing needs of all of our students. The outcomes listed above reflect input from three sources: 1) The agreed upon requirements for the Critical Reading & Writing courses; 2) Recommended outcomes and objectives as stated by the NCTE (National Council of the Teachers of English); and 3) Recommended outcomes and objectives as stated by the Council of Writing Program Administrators.
General Education: Studies in Arts & Humanities
An essential part of the General Education Program, the 200 level Studies in Arts & Humanities course addresses the objectives of the General Education Program by providing an opportunity for students to engage with enduring questions and issues in an interdisciplinary fashion, by studying texts and other sources drawn from a range of different times and cultures.
Studies in Arts & Humanities is an interdisciplinary liberal arts course. It provides students with an introduction to key texts, concepts, and artifacts from different fields in the humanities. (These could include, for instance history, literature, philosophy, music, art history, and others.) Each section of the course covers a range of different cultures, and at least four different periods in human history, which can range from the ancient world to contemporary works. The course is designated Writing Intensive, and will require students to complete at least two different types of writing assignments. This is a core General Education course, required for all students.