New writing program is right move for UCF

By Jerriann Sullivan

UCF is changing the way it teaches writing starting July 1.

The new Department of Writing and Rhetoric is a program intended to implement and manage writing instruction across the university. Basically, it will help teachers in every department use writing in their classes.

Approval of the new department has been met with criticism because of its price tag of about $1.7 million.

“You get what you pay for” is the old saying that is appropriate for this situation, too.

Without the funds, the department would not be able to include its new program titled“Knights Write,” which will prepare students to write for all of their classes.

If you really think about it, $1.7 million is not a lot of money to improve the writing skills of more than 50,000 students.

I love writing, which is one of the reasons I am a journalism major. Not all UCF students share my passion for words, though.

Creating a lifelong love for writing is not the goal of the new department anyway. Instead, the faculty behind the program will make students better writers regardless of the students’ levels of passion.

There is a long list of benefits from becoming a better writer.

It will make people better students. You must understand a topic to write about it. With multiple-choice tests, it is easy to memorize what you need and move on once the test is completed.

The use of multiple-choice tests works well for students managing rigorous schedules, but it does very little to ensure that the students grasp the concepts in their classes. I am sure each of you can remember preparing for a test then promptly forgetting a substantial amount of information once you took the test.

It doesn’t work quite the same way with writing.

You will never remember every single thing you learn. Researching a topic then writing and editing a paper on it will reduce the amount of information lost, though.

You are paying good money for your education, so you should probably remember as much of it as possible. The implementation of the new department will make your degree and your time spent at UCF more valuable.

The program aims to improve writing across UCF’s curriculum and will prepare students for life after college. You need to write effectively to explain your knowledge, opinions and ideas to others.

Almost every career will entail some type of written communication. Whether it is an e-mail to your boss or an office memo, each thing you write will need to convey your thoughts clearly.

In school, you receive grades on how well you write papers. In the workplace, you will be judged by how well you write. Developing good writing habits now will lead to positive judgments later.

UCF needs to deliver on its promise with this new program, though, and make sure students actually become versatile writers. The requirements for writing well for engineering students should be different than those for sociology students.

Hopefully, UCF does not create general requirements across the curriculum without taking into account the topic being covered. If the university did so, the program would end up hurting students instead of helping them.

With $1.7 million and four years to get the program running smoothly I’m confident UCF will not let you down.