Jul 18, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
Course Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Degree Attributes

Cultural Diversity (CD)

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The Committee on Diversity Studies reviews and approves all courses carrying the CD attribute.

Criteria for CD Courses

Courses carrying the CD attribute must fall into at least one of the following categories:

  • Courses whose primary focus of inquiry is on a disenfranchised group (or groups) in the United States.
  • Courses whose primary focus of inquiry concerns national and/or transnational cultures outside the United States.
  • Courses whose focus of inquiry includes substantial attention to methods of inquiry analyzing and interpreting cultural differences.
  • Courses taught in a language other than English (TLOE).

Quantitative and Formal Reasoning (QFR)

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Courses carrying the Quantitative and Formal Reasoning (QFR) designation aim to help students develop the ability to use tools, algorithms, or strategies to solve problems, make decisions, or evaluate evidence, and to equip students with the ability to formally evaluate models or sets of evidence. QFR courses emphasize developing and evaluating assumptions, organizing and structuring data, and conducting analyses to make sound judgments and conclusions. QFR courses often focus on quantitative data, but the hallmark of QFR is the application of formal logic and explicit rules for decision-making.

In QFR courses, students spend a substantial amount of course time developing the ability to use tools, algorithms, or strategies to solve problems, make decisions, or evaluate evidence. Examples include: organizing and graphing data, performing and interpreting statistical tests, designing experiments and observational studies, and developing formal models (logical, computational, mathematical, or statistical). QFR skills also include formally critiquing and testing models and arguments and understanding the type of evidence needed to adequately evaluate them.

The Committee on Quantitative and Formal Reasoning reviews and approves all courses carrying the QFR attribute.

Criteria for QFR Courses

  • Courses must explicitly include QFR content, as evidenced by one or more QFR competencies:
    • organizing and graphing data;
    • developing a computer model;
    • performing statistical tests and inferring conclusions from them;
    • designing an experimental or observational study or formal logical model;
    • generating alternative hypotheses and deducing predictions from them;
    • debugging a program;
    • testing the limits of a computational model;
    • assessing the accuracy of a graph; and
    • recognizing and evaluating assumptions embedded in experimental design.
  • Students must be asked to demonstrate and use QFR reasoning as part of the work of the course. Reading assignments on or demonstrations of QFR reasoning alone are not sufficient.
  • At least one-third of students’ grades must be based on QFR skills. These grades can come from hands-on projects (e.g., doing problem sets, writing programs, designing studies, generating and evaluating data, formally critiquing empirical studies, etc.), as well as from exam questions that explicitly evaluate such skills (e.g., questions that require induction or deduction, questions that require critical evaluation of the available empirical support for a specific hypothesis or theory, etc.).

Writing Intensive (WINT)

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Writing Intensive (WINT) courses involve explicit instruction in writing, should be limited in size to allow such instruction, and require multiple writing assignments. These courses should be designed to help students develop, compose, revise, organize, and edit prose appropriate to the discipline or course.

The Committee on Writing reviews and approves all courses carrying the WINT attribute.

Criteria for WINT Courses

  • WINT courses attend to the writing process. Faculty in WINT courses should pay explicit attention to the writing process, including the elements of organization, composition, revision, and editing prose, each as is appropriate for the course or discipline. This does not mean that faculty will need to teach mechanics per se.
  • Faculty in WINT courses should provide mechanisms for students to get feedback on their work and to incorporate this feedback into their writing for the course. This feedback may be in the form of faculty response or peer-review, for example.
  • WINT courses must require multiple writing assignments that total 15 or more pages of writing. A single long paper at the end of the semester would not meet this criterion unless the paper was developed in stages and revisions over the course of the semester. Raw lab notes, unedited journal entries, or similar types of writing would also not meet this criterion.
  • WINT courses should generally be limited to 20 students where possible. Research indicates that this is the ideal limit. Faculty wishing to teach WINT courses with enrollments above 25 students should plan to incorporate peer-review techniques and apply for Writing Associates.

Writing Advanced (WADV)

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Writing Advanced (WADV) courses are associated with the major and aim at helping students develop as writers within a discipline, employing the conventions and styles appropriate to that field and demonstrating the depth and engagement with disciplinary issues typical of knowledgeable practitioners. Students are encouraged to complete one course designated WADV in relation to their major field of study. In most cases, these courses will be upper-level or capstone courses geared to the major. Nonetheless, the department or program administering the major will determine which course(s) should have this attribute, and which course(s) with this attribute offered by related departments or programs would benefit their majors.

The Committee on Writing reviews courses requesting the WADV attribute and works with individual instructors as well as departments and programs on the development of these courses, but defers to departments, programs, or curricular committees for the final approval of the WADV designation to a course.

Criteria for WADV Courses

  • WADV courses follow the same criteria as the WINT courses, with particular emphasis on modes of writing and communication appropriate to advanced work in the discipline.
  • WADV courses carry the expectation that a certain level of disciplinary knowledge is required to undertake the advanced writing in the field.
  • The kinds of writing assigned to students are similar to the kinds of writing used by specialists in the field. This could include, for example, essays, extensive research papers, formal lab reports, and formal presentations.