Faculty Frequently Asked Questions

Beginning in the fall of 2009, all entering undergraduate students are required to take two Critical Thinking through Writing (CTW) courses in their major in order to graduate with a degree from Georgia State University.  CTW courses are designed to develop students’ critical thinking abilities within their major area of study.  The courses incorporate short writing assignments that encourage students to examine the course content in a new light and to use the tools that they have learned in their courses to think like members of their discipline. 

Below are some common questions from faculty about the Critical Thinking through Writing initiative.  For a list of common student questions, click here.

 

What is CTW?

Is Critical Thinking through Writing the same as Writing Across the Curriculum?

What is the difference between a CTW course and a Writing Intensive course?

How has my major defined critical thinking?

What are the CTW courses in my major?

How were the CTW courses in my major chosen?

How many CTW courses will my students take?

What is a CTW ambassador?

Who is the CTW ambassador for my major?

What is the role of assessment in the Critical Thinking through Writing Initiative?

What is a CTW Consultant?

Am I eligible for CTW Consultant (GRA)  support?

How can I get a CTW Consultant?

Why aren't faculty in Arts and Sciences eligible or CTW consultant support?

Where can I find a copy of my department's critical thinking rubric?

Where can I find a copy of my department's critical thinking syllabi?

Where can I find a copy of my department's sample CTW assignments?

Can my students take a CTW course in another major?

How does the CTW requirement affect transfer students?

How does the CTW requirement affect double majors?

Where can I send my students to fill out the CTW course survey?

Who can I contact if I have more questions about CTW?

 

What is CTW?

CTW stands for Critical Thinking through Writing.  Beginning in the fall of 2009, all entering undergraduate students are required to take two CTW courses in their major in order to graduate with a degree from Georgia State University.  CTW courses are designed to develop students’ critical thinking abilities within their major area of study.  The courses incorporate short writing assignments that encourage students to examine the course content in a new light and to use the tools that they have learned in their courses to think like members of their discipline. 

Is Critical Thinking through Writing the same as Writing Across the Curriculum?

No.  Below is a breakdown of the two programs.

Critical Thinking through Writing (CTW) is GSU’s Quality Enhancement Plan required for SACS accreditation.  The CTW course requirement was enacted by the university senate in 2007.  While CTW will enrich the entire academic environment, its main focus is on student enrichment. 

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) is a pedagogical movement  which promotes writing in all disciplines.  GSU’s WAC program was established in 1996. While the WAC program enriches the entire academic environment, its main focus is on faculty development.

 

Comparison of WAC and CTW Programs

 

WAC

CTW

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) is a pedagogical movement which promotes writing in all disciplines.  GSU’s WAC program was established in 1996.

 

Critical Thinking through Writing (CTW) is GSU’s Quality Enhancement Plan required for SACS accreditation.  The CTW course requirement was enacted by the university senate in 2007.

 

WAC courses are not a graduation requirement for students

Beginning fall 2009, entering undergraduates will be required to take two CTW courses in their majors to graduate.

 

WAC is a faculty development program, and WAC faculty are self-selecting

 

Every department was required to create two CTW courses

WAC has no connection to assessment

 

All CTW courses must have an assessment component

 

WAC courses are Writing Intensive

 

CTW courses are not Writing Intensive.

WAC requires that 40% of the course grade be determined by assignments that require written responses from students

 

CTW courses require that a significant portion of the grade be derived from written assignments that capture evidence of student critical thinking.

 

WAC offers GTA support to qualified faculty with course cap of 25 or more students in all colleges

 

CTW offers GTA support to CTW sections with enrollment of over 25 students for colleges outside Arts and Sciences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the difference between a CTW course and a Writing Intensive course?

 

Writing Intensive (WI) courses are courses that are developed and taught by Writing Across the Curriculum trained faculty.  WI courses follow the faculty member, so while a course may be WI one semester when taught by one faculty member, the same course may not be WI the next semester if taught by a different faculty member.  Further, to be labeled as WI a course must take at least 40% of its grade from writing and it must offer a significant opportunity for revision.  WI courses are not a graduation requirement. 

Critical Thinking through Writing courses were chosen by departments in consultation with their faculty.  Once a course is labeled CTW it is always CTW, and every faculty member teaching the CTW course will be CTW trained.  A CTW course remains a CTW course until the department chooses to remove the designation.  To receive the CTW designation, courses were submitted by CTW faculty representatives (called ambassadors) to the Undergraduate Assessment Committee for approval.  CTW courses require that a significant portion of the grade be derived from written assignments that capture critical thinking.  Departments interpret "significant" as they see appropriate, and while opportunity for revision is encouraged, it is not required.  Undergraduates are required to take two CTW courses in their major to graduate.  Finally, CTW courses are assessed by the university.  At the end of each year, CTW ambassadors reflect on the CTW courses in their major and report their findings to the Undergraduate Assessment Committee for review.

How has my department defined critical thinking?

To find a list of critical thinking definitions by department, click on the following link: http://www.ctwdb.gsu.edu/ctw/

Once you reach the CTW content management page, select your department.  When your deaprtment page opens, you will see all public information related to CTW in your department.  To see the critical thinking definition, select the tab marked “CT Definition.”

 

What are the CTW courses in my department?

For a list of CTW ambassadors, click on the following link:  http://www.ctwdb.gsu.edu/ctw/

 

How were the CTW courses in my department chosen?

The university asked departments to develop two CTW courses. Some departments chose to adapt courses that already existed, and others chose to develop entirely new courses to meet the needs of the Critical Thinking through Writing initiative. Once the departmnts chose their courses, they developed a plan for the courses as well as some sample syllabi and assignments, and they submitted the courses to the Undergraduate Assessment Committee (formerly GEAC) for approval.

 

How many CTW courses will my students take?

Undergraduates entering under the fall 2009 catalog will be required to take two CTW courses in their major.  Students may take more.  Some departments offer more than two CTW courses, and students may take CTW courses in their minor area of study or in electives.  However, all students must complete two courses within their major area of study.

 

What is a CTW ambassador?

A CTW ambassador is a faculty member from your department selected  to guide the implementation of CTW in your department.  CTW ambassadors work with their faculty to construct syllabi, assignments, and rubrics for the CTW courses.  They also train CTW consultants, when applicable, and hold workshops for their faculty to familiarize them with the goals of the CTW initiative.  CTW ambassadors are responsible for reporting assessment data from the majors to the Undergraduate Assessment Committee (formerly GEAC) for review.  Most importantly, CTW ambassadors are faculty members who have worked diligently to bring the CTW initiative to life in their departments, and they have done a wonderful job of making sure that the initiative reflects the goals of their respective disciplines. 

For a full list of names click here.

 

Who is the CTW ambassador for my major?

 

Click here for a full list of ambassadors by major.

 

What is the role of assessment in the Critical Thinking through Writing Initiative?

 

CTW courses – plans, assignments, rubrics, and assessments -  are reviewed by the Undergraduate Assessment Committee, a subcommittee of CAP.  Ambassadors for each Department, in consultation with faculty members in their department, examine student work in CTW courses and write a reflection about the successes and changes needed that will help students with their thinking in the discipline. It is important to remember that while student work in the CTW courses may be part of university assessment, the university is not monitoring individual students nor individual instructors, just trends in student thinking and the success of assignments.

 

 

What is a CTW Consultant?

CTW consultants work with their respective courses as discipline-specific tutors.  Consultants must be graduate students studying the discipline with which they will be working. If a discipline cannot provide graduate students to work as CTW consultants, the CTW office will help ambassadors find a consultant from a related discipline.

Consultant Duties:

CTW consultants perform the following duties:

For more information on consultants, click here.

 

Am I eligible for CTW Consultant (GRA) support?

 

To receive consultant support a course must meet the following criteria:

1. Your course has been identified to the Undergraduate Assessment Committee (formerly General Education Subcommittee) as a CTW course for your major.

2. Your course enrollment must exceed a 25:1 student teacher ratio (a minimum enrollment of 26). Courses may be considered for a consultant with a cap of 26, but the course must meet that cap in order to receive funds to support a consultant. Support may be withdrawn from courses that fail to meet the enrollment requirement.

3. CTW ambassadors may request additional assistance at a rate of one CTW consultant per additional 26 students (i.e. if your course has 52 students, you may request two CTW consultants, and if 78, you may request 3, and so on).

4. The College of Arts and Sciences has opted to limit CTW courses to enrollment of 25 students or less. Therefore, CTW courses offered in A & S degree programs are not eligible for CTW consultants.

For more information on consultants, click here.

 

How can I get a CTW Consultant?

If you are teaching an eligible CTW course (see criteria below) contact your ambassador for information on consultant support.

To receive consultant support a course must meet the following criteria:

1. Your course has been identified to the Undergraduate Assessment Committee (formerly General Education Subcommittee) as a CTW course for your major.

2. Your course enrollment must exceed a 25:1 student teacher ratio (a minimum enrollment of 26). Courses may be considered for a consultant with a cap of 26, but the course must meet that cap in order to receive funds to support a consultant. Support may be withdrawn from courses that fail to meet the enrollment requirement.

3. CTW ambassadors may request additional assistance at a rate of one CTW consultant per additional 26 students (i.e. if your course has 52 students, you may request two CTW consultants, and if 78, you may request 3, and so on).

4. The College of Arts and Sciences has opted to limit CTW courses to enrollment of 25 students or less. Therefore, CTW courses offered in A & S degree programs are not eligible for CTW consultants.

When you work with your consultant, you should be aware of the following:

CTW consultants perform the following duties:

For more information on consultants, click here.

 

Why aren't faculty in Arts and Sciences eligible or CTW consultant support?

The College of Arts and Sciences has elected to keep all CTW courses at or below the 25:1 student to teacher ratio.  As a result, all Arts and Sciences courses are ineligible for consultant support.

 

Where can I find a copy of my department's critical thinking rubric?

To view your department's CTW plan, including sample syllabi, assignments, and rubrics, click here.

 

Where can I find a copy of my department's critical thinking syllabi?

To view your department's CTW plan, including sample syllabi, assignments, and rubrics, click here.

 

Where can I find a copy of my department's sample CTW assignments?

To view your department's CTW plan, including sample syllabi, assignments, and rubrics, click here.

 

Can my students take a CTW course in another major?

To fulfill the graduation requirement, students must take two CTW courses in their own major.  They may take additional CTW courses in their minor or as electives, but they must complete two within their major area of study. 

 

How does the CTW requirement affect transfer students?

Critical Thinking through Writing courses can only be taught by trained CTW faculty, thus students must take CTW courses at Georgia State University.  There are no equivalent courses at other universities. 

 

How does the CTW requirement affect double majors?

Students must complete two CTW courses within their major area of study.  To receive a double major, a student must complete two CTW courses in each of his/her major areas.

 

Where can I send my students to fill out the CTW course survey?

 

The CTW student survey is offered at the end of every semester. A week before the end of the semester and a week following the end of the semester, students can find the CTW student survey at www.gsu.edu/ctw

 

Who can I contact if I have more questions about CTW?

If you have more questions about the CTW initiative, you can contact
George Pullman, Director CTW or  Jennifer Lawrence, Associate Director CTW
Contact us via email at ctw@gsu.edu or by phone at 404-413-5878