Talented writers in the Class of 2016 may have the opportunity to hone their literary skills in an advanced expository writing class that will serve as an alternative to the current mandatory freshman Expos offerings.
In the first Faculty meeting of the new semester, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris introduced a proposal for a new advanced course, Expository Writing 30.
At a meeting focused on student academics, Harris also presented a proposal to modify the system of Latin honors that will slightly ease the requirements for the summa cum laude degree, the highest academic honor.
Harris said the Standing Committee on Writing and Speaking has spent the past year reviewing the expository writing curriculum and its effectiveness in preparing students for future writing courses.
The addition of Expos 30 to the course offerings is part of a larger initiative to prepare freshmen for academic writing.
Currently, the Harvard College Writing Program—the oldest such program in the nation, established in 1872—offers Expos 10, an introductory course for students who need additional writing support, and Expos 20, a mandatory class for all students.
The committee is also evaluating the effectiveness of Expos 10.
“We felt it was important to build bridges from Expos to sophomore tutorials,” Harris said yesterday in the Faculty meeting. “This is a major effort.”
Sosland Director in the Harvard College Writing Program Thomas R. Jehn and Harris are currently leading the review process of the Expos curriculum. Among the first proposed changes is a revised writing placement exam that incoming freshmen will take before being recommended for an expository writing class.
“We feel [the current placement exam] does a good job finding the weakest writers, [but] not finding the strongest writers,” Harris said.
Jehn and Harris said they hope to use the new test to identify students for the Expos 30 class that will start in the fall of 2012.
“The prospect of this class is very exciting for me,” Jehn said, adding that the precise number of sections for the new course has not been determined.
RE-WRITING THE HONORS
Harris held the stage to present a motion to revise the Latin honors system for graduating seniors, including reducing certain requirements.
Expos Revised: Addressing Varied Writing Skill LevelsAccording to The Crimson’s 1985 coverage of this expos class—then called Expos 5 but now known to students as Expos 10—writing program officials intended it to give some students for whom English is a second language, as well as students with significantly weaker writing backgrounds additional instruction to prepare them for college-level writing.
College Evaluates Expos 10Unlike its less popular counterpart Expos 20, which has garnered mixed reviews, students praise Expos 10 for offering a course structure that allows them to think critically and write with sophistication.
Emerging Expos 30
Evaluating ExposExpos can only maintain its relevance within the modern liberal arts curriculum if it, like all long-standing traditions, accepts a certain amount of re-evaluation and renovation.
Freshmen Conduct Original Research in Expository Writing CoursesAs the deadlines for Expository Writing 20 final papers approach, freshmen in social science-themed sections are increasingly using surveys and interviews to conduct original research on the Harvard community.
Seeking Practical SkillsI concentrate in Social Studies. I have taken coursework that counts for the “Social Analysis” core (may it rest in peace). But in reality, while I have improved my ability to study and analyze social things, I am bad at participating in them myself.