Each department at Calvin devises and oversees its own departmental rhetoric program, with guidance from the RAC committee. These programs are guided by the following common ideals:
- Frequency. The total number of pages that students write is less important than writing often. Ideally, students should always be at work on some writing project -- whether planning, drafting, or revising. Students learn course material and improve their own writing best when assigned both formal and informal, “write-to-learn” exercises.
- Variety. Students should be taught, and have opportunity to practice, a variety of types of writing that are common in a discipline. (A variety of assignments allows students to practice making the kinds of adjustments -- for audience, purpose, and genre that are necessary for both academic and professional writing.)
- Feedback. Response -- written and oral, from professors and peers -- that is coupled with opportunity for revision is essential for improving writing. Instructors should also remember that their goal in assigning writing is not primarily to have students write effective papers for one particular class but to become better writers and better thinkers.