Marquette University has a very respectable curriculum which is nationally recognized. Its students go on to succeed in respectable Master’s and Doctorate programs and our departing seniors tend to have relatively good job placement. But there is one part of our curriculum which needs to be addressed. That area would be our introductory English programs, Rhetoric and Composition 1 and 2. These programs cover basic writing skills. They help you write essays, business letters, etc… ??????? ???? ????? ????
I do not think there is anything wrong with this. In fact, I think students should not be exempted from these types of classes for good scores on AP and IB exams. However, these courses are in desperate need of improvement.
Rather than reading the mindless drivel that professors regularly assign in these classes, students should be required to study the greatest writers of all time. By learning from the masters of rhetoric and composition, like Cicero, Chesterton or even Ronald Reagan, it is possible to imitate their style and to write in the ways they did.
If one can write logically, then one can also think logically. That is why men like Kant, Aquinas and Descartes could think so critically. Regardless of whether or not they come to the correct conclusions, they were able to think and write in a logical, coherent fashion. When students pick up the writings of one of these philosophers, they should be able to understand them by merely reading or studying them on their own.
Unfortunately many Marquette students are unable to understand many of these great thinkers; this is a serious problem – particularly at a Jesuit institution. A university education cannot be purely based on our skills in business or engineering. Rather, it should be founded on things like the ability to read and write.
I acknowledge our professors try extremely hard to help students acquire basic writing skills. But the university needs to take a serious look at its English department so as to make sure students come out of Marquette as intelligent, well-educated people. Writing is an art. And it’s in danger of being a lost one. When students in courses like Rhetoric and Composition 1 or 2 are comparing and contrasting advertisements or writing business letters rather than learning actual writing skills it shows that Marquette needs to take a serious look at revising its curriculum. vbulletin ??????? ?????
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