RLS 122. Perspectives on Leisure. Basic philosophical, historical, psychological and scientific foundations and developments in leisure and recreation theory; review of the cultural forces, institutions and theories that affect individuals and society. Prerequisite: Passing score on the WPE. 3 units.
This is an upper division class that is among one of many that may be taken to fulfill the “writing intensive” requirement at California State University, Sacramento. The section I’m enrolled in meets on Wednesday nights from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. After attending the first session, I have mixed feelings about it. Lets us start with the negative…
There has been much discussion of the “dumbing down” of America. Presented for evidence to this claim is the dismal writing skills exhibited by college students. To remedy this problem, universities and colleges have adopted a number of measures to assure that its graduates posses at least rudimentary writing skills. One such program is called “Writing Across the Curriculum” and spawned the “writing intensive” requirement.
My major is essentially a dual major combining political science and journalism. At Sacramento State, political science is called “government,” but for all intents and purposes it’s the same thing. Virtually every government class has had a significant writing component, usually culminated by the ever-popular semester-end term paper. Added to the papers I’ve written for other classes outside my major... well, I’ve written a lot of term papers.
Then there’s the journalism component. What can I say? You won’t go very far in journalism if you can’t write. Period. Yet, not one single class offered in the journalism department is designated “writing intensive.” Not one. That is not to say that all of my journalism classmates could write well. There have been a number of starry-eyed freshmen who have come through just knowing they would be the next Brian Williams or Soledad O’Brien. But their writing was dismal and they soon found other pursuits.
I know how incredibly bad the writing skills of college students can be. I’ve witnessed it first-hand too many times. I am ever amazed how some of these students made it through high school English. It’s yet another testimony to the sorry state of our public school system. To further ensure graduates from Sacramento State and other California State University schools can write to a certain minimal standard, a “Writing Proficiency Exam” must be taken before the student’s second semester as a junior. They are given two or three chances to pass before being allowed to enroll in a remedial writing course that gets them around the requirement.
Then they can enroll in a “writing intensive” course like “Perspectives on Leisure.” The good news? This sounds like it will be a fun class. It sure won’t tax my writing ability, not much is expected. It’s not a “walk-through,” however. I’ll have to write, but since writing is what I do… And since group work is a key component, I might be in a position to help my classmates with their writing as well. Furthermore, I might even learn something. Indeed, I already have and ironically enough (this shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but it still does) it looks like it will dovetail neatly into some of the other things I have going on. I guess that if I have to satisfy this requirement, there could be less pleasant ways of doing it.