WRIs hurt everyone, even English majors

Students were filled with stress in the days before and after class registration this year as they tried to secure a spot in their courses. Even after registration closed, many were stuck anxiously awaiting override requests to be accepted.

I was no exception to this stress — 15 minutes before my registration time was to begin, only six of the 21 spring courses offered by the English department were left open. Last spring, I declared my English major, and I had hoped to take more than one department course this upcoming semester. While six courses would still allow me to enroll in a class from the English department, my options were further limited as some of the remaining courses I had either taken previously, or they conflicted with another course I needed to take.

Confusion outweighed my frustration — why were there so few spots left in the English department? I quickly noticed a trend in the courses that were filling up — they all counted for the Writing in Context (WRI) requirement which is part of the 2008 General Education (GE) curriculum. Students on the 2008 GE system are required to take four WRI credits in addition to First-Year Writing. With the new Ole Core Curriculum, students only take three writing credits — First-Year Experience: Writing in Rhetoric, Writing Across the Curriculum, and Writing in the Major. The class of 2025 is the first class to follow the Ole Core, but the classes of 2023 and 2024 were given the option to switch to Ole Core. Despite this option, many ’23 and ’24 students, including myself, have decided to stay on the 2008 GE system to avoid overcomplication in transferring the GE credits. In turn, WRI credits continue to be high in demand.

In contrast to the majority of the 2008 GE requirements, WRI credits are most often found in upper-level courses. The exception? Classes in the English department. Almost all English courses provide a WRI credit and/or the Artistic and Literary Studies: Literary Studies (ALS-L) credit. These courses also need fewer prerequisites than other WRI courses, only requiring the completion of a First-Year Writing course. Thus, seniors and juniors who are hoping to finish off their WRI credits tend to lean towards the English courses. The order of spring registration is by seniority, so by the time sophomore or junior year English majors register, classes they were hoping to take are filled up.

The English major requirements are less strict than those of other majors, so the department encourages majors to use their elective courses to form a specialized focus within their degree. This specialization is near impossible if you are unable to explore the different literary genres in your sophomore and junior years.

English courses are valuable to all students, no matter the major. They improve communication and writing skills, benefiting students in their future careers or education. The 2008 GE curriculum’s WRI credits encourage students to take English courses, causing  a limited amount of seating options for English majors of lower class status. Ole Core’s writing credits will better prepare non-English majors for their future careers, while also allowing English majors to have more course enrollment options. These benefits will be most apparent in a few years.

 

franci3@stolaf.edu

Ainsley Francis is from 

Charlotte N.C.

Her major is English.

 

+ posts