I teach a class at USC called WRIT 340. It is the second of two writing classes required for graduation. The university offers dozens if not scores of these classes every semester in several of the schools. I teach it through the business school.
My students are ethnically diverse, come from all over the world, work, have internships, are seeking meaningful lives and employment, in addition to pursuing their educations beyond the undergraduate level. Not all my students are business majors — some are majoring in journalism, film, accounting, music, health professions, and engineering. Some are elite athletes, and some are passionate about art, dance, and food.
Many of them have waited till the last minute to take this class, and are desperate to get into a WRIT 340 class, ANY WRIT 340 class. Many students come into the class seeing it as a meaningless chore. Quite a few leave feeling something worthwhile happened.
I have several agendas when I teach this class (in addition to the “writing proficiency” agendas of the University):
- “Who you are MATTERS” – Many of the students I teach are so focused on grades, achievement, internships, and how they’re going to earn a living, that they divorce their sense of who they are from where they’re going. Through a variety of writing assignments, I encourage them to stay in touch with what makes them happy and what makes each of them unique
- “Life is a journey” – as opposed to items on a resume
- “Business cannot be divorced from plants, animals, birds, mountains, rivers, oceans, and stars” – I have my students blog continuously about natural phenomena, and I introduce a “sustainable business” component into the lectures and assignments.
- “The Universe is wild, weird, wonderful, and chaotic” – I have my students blog continuously about random things that I throw their way. For example, it has always seemed to happen that Jupiter is in the night sky when I teach (as it is now), and we go outside and observe it when it is conjunct the moon.