Academic Literacies Programme
The ALP comprises the English for Academic Purposes Programme, the Academic Research and Writing Programme, the Creative Writing Programme and the University Writing Center and Language Workshop. It is also responsible for Richmond’s Academic Reading and Writing Placement Assessment and for the pre-university Richmond English for Academic Purposes programmes.
The overall mission of the ALP is to empower students to communicate effectively, proficiently and appropriately throughout their undergraduate studies and beyond. Through its range of offerings, the ALP develops skills that are essential for academic success while nurturing a student’s own “voice” and viewpoint. The ALP trains students to monitor their individual practice with a view to becoming ethical, responsible, independent scholars.
To be academically literate is to advance the ability to read and write to levels that will transform students into effective and inspired scholars. The courses which help students make this transformation are Principles of Academic Writing, ARW 3195, and Principles of Academic Research, ARW 4195 which together comprise Richmond’s Academic Research and Writing Programme. The mission of the Academic Research and Writing Programme (ARWP) is to inculcate principles of good scholarship and to empower students to operate highly proficiently within the university and beyond.
Faculty in the programme convey to students that the ability to write effectively within the academic community is empowering, that it is based upon critical thinking, reading and research, and that it requires integrity, perseverance and discipline.
The programme seeks to provide students with strategies to engage with and negotiate contemporary debate effectively and thoughtfully. Students are required to produce a variety of academic papers in order to enhance their ability to write effectively and insightfully across a range of academic contexts in accordance with accepted academic standards and expectations and to do so with increasing success and self-confidence.
The reason these courses are required of all students is that the content of both is at the very core of university study. All degree programmes require students to be able to conduct research effectively, and to engage with, analyse, critique, evaluate and contest what they find, while constantly gauging how it is impacting their own thinking, experiences, knowledge and ideas.
As there can be differences in presentation, style and referencing for research papers in different degree programmes, and even for different courses within a degree programme, ARW 3195 and ARW 4195 address the commonalties and highlight key differences in academic requirements and expectations. These two courses are placed in the lower division. In the upper division, students take a Writing and Research Methods course in their major which continues their development as literate scholars and leads to the capstone course in their degree programme, the Senior Seminar/Project. There is thus a strong, central core of research and writing instruction running through each Richmond degree, creating students who are academically literate and therefore well prepared for post graduate study and beyond.
The ARWP consists of two courses:
Students must pass ARW 3195 with a minimum grade of C- to progress to ARW 4195. (Students wishing to take ARW 4195 as a summer course must achieve a minimum grade of B- for ARW 3195.)
Note: New students eligible to take ARW 3195 have four consecutive semesters from their semester of entry to pass both ARW 3195 and ARW 4195. New students eligible to take ARW 4195 have two consecutive semesters from their first semester of eligibility to pass this course.
English for Academic Purposes Programme
The credit bearing English for Academic Purposes Programme consists of three linked courses, each designed to enhance a student’s academic language and skills. See list below.
In addition, a student will choose two appropriate courses from the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum.
Provided that students achieve a grade of C or higher in these courses, they will then progress to the Academic Research and Writing Programme.
Academic Research and Writing Program
All degree students entering Richmond are required to take the Academic Reading and Writing Diagnostic Assessment during the orientation period preceding the start of their first semester. The test covers competence in language, reading comprehension and essay writing. A committee of faculty evaluates each student’s performance.
The Creative Writing Programme provides a framework of small classes within which students make art through words, and are drawn into deeper knowledge of their own cognitive and creative processes. At both level 3 and 5, this is achieved through students reading their own writing alongside that of literary masters. Students are given the opportunity, in a highly supportive environment, not only to express themselves as artists through the written word and to learn skills with which to approach their own creativity, but also to become more subtle readers.
The creative writing courses are invaluable not only for providing a variety of triggers for the imagination but in revealing to students the possibilities for elaborate interchanges between readers and a writer that a successful text can generate. Through peer and instructor feedback processes, students develop their critical faculties and their potential for self-directed learning.
In each creative writing course, the students develop a portfolio of their own individual work which includes a combination of fiction and poetry in addition to other written genres. At level 3, the emphasis is on spontaneity and the gathering of ideas for experimentation with different forms. At the level 5, gathering and forming ideas is equally important, but there is further emphasis on developing individual narratives and poems to a state of being “finished”, and through this process, students become aware of the potential for interplay between the pieces of work in a portfolio.
Students taking Creative Writing as a minor by combining ENG 3195 and ENG 5195 with their own choice of four additional courses from the minor course list, become part of the vibrant arts community at Richmond. Course prerequisite: ARW 4195.
The University Writing Centre (UWC) operates at the Richmond Campus. It is staffed by instructors with experience and expertise in the demands of tertiary level writing and research. The UWC offers to all students a free service which focuses upon assisting them to generate ideas, to find relevant sources, to organize their research, to structure their writing, to improve their written style, and to cite sources appropriately.
The UWC also operates a Language Workshop at the Richmond Campus. This is primarily focused upon upgrading the English language proficiency, of those students for whom English is a second language. All UWC sessions comprise private meetings between an individual student and the UWC tutor on duty.