The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday October 23rd

New English class proposed could take effect for freshmen in 2012

At today’s meeting of the Faculty Council, officials will seek an endorsement for a new introductory English class that would be required of all freshmen, beginning in fall 2012.

The proposed English 105 course survived opposition Wednesday at the educational policy committee, where Michael Salemi, chairman of the economics department, voiced concern about the course offering three credit hours rather than four. A fourth hour was called for to include special instruction involving multimedia projects, blogging or even service learning.

“The four hour component was so essential to that part of the project,” Salemi said Thursday, noting that no representatives from the English department were at the meeting. “We shouldn’t approve something without knowing what we were approving.”

At the meeting, members said the four credit hour proposal would be infeasible, as it would require more funding and time.

“Even though that’s the ideal, we cannot move to that model because we don’t have the space or the money to pay teachers,” said Beverly Taylor, chairwoman of the English and comparative literature department.

Andrew Perrin, chairman of the sociology department, pushed the resolution through the committee by attaching a contingency that the English and comparative literature department be willing to implement it.

“It is a good thing to require to teach students composition here at Carolina instead of students passing out of it,” Perrin said. “Many times, students are not good enough at writing.”

Taylor was not at the meeting but said she supports the decision.

“All the research in the field says placement tests are not a good measurement of writing skills,” she said.

Currently, students can place out of both English 101 and 102 or just 101 with high scores on the SAT, Advanced Placement tests or International Baccalaureate exams.

Students transferring to UNC with equivalent credits will be exempt from the requirement.

Taylor said the practice is in line with several peer universities.

“Everyone can profit from some writing instruction, and in keeping with a trend in higher education, all of UNC’s peer institutions require one semester of a writing course for all incoming students,” Taylor said.

Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean of undergraduate education, said she was pleased that the course overcame concerns. The course will not be implemented until 2012 in order to allow prospective students ample time to understand UNC’s requirements.

“There were a lot of people that got distracted with the difference between a three and four credit hour course,” Owen said.

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