9 December 2011

The Faculty of Arts at The University of Queensland will boost its undergraduate course offering by 22 new courses in Semester 1, 2012.

Of the 22 new courses, 7 will be in the area of writing.

Some of the new titles include: Writing History in the Digital Age, Writing Religion and Spirituality, Writing Philosophy: Social Ethics and Effective Thinking and Writing.

The growth in writing studies reflects student demand and the growing recognition that students need to engage in writing-intensive work within the framework of their majors.

"Faculty staff are responding to calls from industry, employers, lecturers and students themselves for specific writing courses, embedded in disciplinary majors," Associate Dean (Academic) Professor Fred D'Agostino said.

"We're offering new courses like Writing History in the Digital Age because it's a developing area that attracts student interest."

"Students are more engaged with writing when they're writing about a topic or in a field of study that they're already committed to."

Professor Fred D'Agostino said the Faculty's move is in line with initiatives of North American Ivy League universities to introduce writing in the discipline courses into each of their majors.

"The Faculty is responding to world and technological developments and changing writing styles."

"Once students would be taught to write formal academic essays and, at a stretch, in more informal modes for the popular, print-based press, but now they need to be prepared to write for blogs and websites."

WRIT3060 is a new course that is currently being offered to students in the Bachelor of International Studies at UQ. If successful, the University will consider offering the course across other undergraduate programs.

In the Bachelor of International Studies, students prepare for their compulsory study abroad experience by researching cultural, political, and other issues associated with their destination city and country.

During their time overseas, these students use the WRIT3060 course to build and maintain a journal of their experiences and as a result, develop a higher level of self-reflection.

The course aligns with the university's objective to prepare its students to be responsible global citizens.

"The whole range of new Arts courses recognise that a specific way of writing is an important skill - not only personally but for employment reasons and for public life in the community."

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Deborah Terry, said new initiatives like WRIT3060 highlight the teaching excellence at the university.

"UQ is home to Australia's best university teachers, as evidenced by the University having won more national teaching awards than any other Australian university."

High student demand across Arts' programs in 2011 indicates students recognise the growing importance of these critical-thinking skills.

Media: Dania Lawrence (07 33659163 or email d.lawrence@uq.edu.au)