In December 2011 the Faculty Senate called for the continuation of General Education work through

  • the crafting of a Fall 2012 pilot project, involving faculty across campus, to test the hypothesis that English 1, Honors College 85, and TAP seminars can work toward shared foundational writing and information literacy goals; and
  • the creation of a faculty-designed writing assessment to judge the effectiveness of pilot courses in integrating and working toward shared writing and information literacy goals.

As many Senators are already aware, the University of Vermont stands virtually alone among state universities in not having a universal first-year writing requirement. Especially given the growing emphasis on literacy and college readiness in secondary education, this means that students arrive at UVM primed for what is still a sizeable leap from high school to university occasions, genres, audiences, and research tools for writing—but then not encounter a class in their first four semesters providing context, support, and challenge to do so. The charge of this pilot was to learn if through ENGS 1, HCOL 85, and TAP, UVM can adopt a coordinated approach for ensuring that all undergraduates have a foundation in college-level writing and information literacy expectations, moving them beyond high-school writing expectations and resources. (See PDF icon Appendix A [PDF] for a short treatment of the differences between high-school and college writing and research). The Senate also requested that a pilot director report back to the Senate by the end of Spring 2013 with results and recommendations.

This report aims to fulfill the first part of that request—providing a summary of and snapshots from the pilot and its results—with more detailed recommendations and any proposal regarding the adoption of a foundational writing and information literacy requirement to be submitted in time for April’s Senate meeting