The University of Utah has a very diverse community that includes students and scholars from around the world. The university recognizes the significance of the international students and has located an International Center to cater for their needs.
In the university, literacy is taken as a social practice. This means that the international student adopt a more social and holistic view of language. Students who have interest in improving their writing and those whose interest is to know how and why writing works are advised to enroll for literacy studies. In general, literacy practices at the university include formation of values, beliefs, attitudes and feelings concerning reading and writing within particular contexts (Baynham, 1995). These findings were based on the following interviews;
The first interview involved the head of the Humanities department. These were the findings;
Me: Good morning Prof.? Thank you for your time. I’m interested in finding out more about the literacy program. Can you please explain when it was started and why?
Prof. J: Thank you so much. I will call it the University Writing Program. It commenced in 1984 after the university realized the need to instill good writing skills to students. The program formed basis for successful and mature writers in both undergraduate and post-graduate settings.
Me: How is the program carried out?
Prof. J: The process is pretty simple. What happens is that our faculty takes charge of all required writing courses in all departments. Writing programs are prepared for specific fields for degree candidates. However, there are general courses in writing that are administered for first year students. As the students progress, seminars are introduced that are more discipline based. Finally, professional writing and rhetoric involves a mature lot of upper-division students.
Me: How successful is the program?
Prof. J: I can confidently say that it is successful. So far we have managed to offer Ph.D. in literacy, rhetoric and composition studies through three departments. Moreover, we have maintained tenure-track faculty position on all graduates.
Me: Thank you so much for the enlightenment. I appreciate. Thank you for your time too. Do have a good day.
My second interview involved one of the graduates who has benefited from the program. The following is part of the conversation.
Me: As an international student, tell me how this program has helped you?
Alumni: First and foremost, the program helped me improve my intercultural understanding by gaining more understanding of the diverse cultures, traditions and perspectives. The integration was breathtaking as I dedicated more time in learning the many cultures around the institution.
Me: Apart from intercultural understanding, how did the program assist your professional career?
Alumni: Allow me to say that I will forever be grateful with what the University did to me in improving my writing and rhetoric skills. My job requires a lot of networking, thus, communication is crucial. The writing program was tailored to my needs because I had the ability to choose the courses. I can say that I can interact and communicate with people with much ease.
Me: Thank you for your time. I wish you the very best in your career life.