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Foundations

Why Integrated Thinking and Writing?


In Thinking and Writing you’ll experience writing as a process of thinking. Our faculty design Thinking and Writing courses that challenge you to think about the questions and problems that motivate academic inquiry. You’ll learn to discover, explore, and clarify your ideas by writing about a subject in depth, over time, with consistent feedback and opportunities to revise.

Core Principles

  • Students’ writing ability is largely a function of their thinking ability. Studies show that the better students are as thinkers, the better they are as writers.
  • The heart of academic writing is developing and supporting a complex claim or stance. In other words, it is not enough to provide information on a topic or craft a one-sided argument—academic writing requires the student to make a commitment to a stance or position while demonstrating an awareness of multiple perspectives on the issue.
  • In order to learn how to write well, you need to write about a subject in depth, over time, with consistent feedback and opportunities to revise.

Core Practices

  • A focus on scholarly questions and problems: From “Forgiveness and Reconciliation" to “The Roaring Twenties” to “What is Nature?” to "History of a Week," you’ll read books—not just textbooks—that provide an intellectual context for your writing projects.
  • The opportunity to think: You’ll generate your own topics, claims, or research questions and engage in independent research.
  • Sustained research and writing: You’ll develop open-ended research questions; develop a complex claim/thesis; and gather, synthesize, question, and incorporate research gathered from multiple perspectives to support and explore your claim/thesis in a longer researched essay.
  • An emphasis on collaboration: In addition to working closely with your instructor, you’ll work with the Mason Library to learn information literacy skills, such as locating and evaluating sources, and with tutors at the Center for Writing to refine your writing process.

In ITW 101, you’ll discover that learning how to write for college takes time, effort, and thought. ITW begins a process that you will be prepared to continue as a developing writer and thinker in college—and beyond.

Why Integrated Quantitative Literacy?

Quantitative literacy means you understand and are confident with numerical information. To be competent and effective in the real world, you’ll need to be able to question, interpret, manipulate, and analyze the numerical information you’ll encounter in all aspects of life.

The ability to question, interpret, and analyze numerical information encountered in all aspects of life (numbers in the news, taxes, debt, inflation, probability) is the hallmark of a quantitatively literate person. Completion of the quantitative literacy (QL) requirement gives you the opportunity to critically read and interpret quantitative information, and to apply quantitative methods and concepts to solve a problem or support an argument.

Students must satisfy the QL requirement within the first three semesters of matriculation. Many do so by completing IQL 101, Integrative Quantitative Literacy. However, some major programs specifically require one of the following courses, each of which can be used to satisfy the QL requirement:

  • MATH 120, Applied Algebra and Trigonometry
  • MATH 141, Introductory Statistics
  • MATH 172, Applications of Number Systems
  • MATH 175, Data Analysis for Teachers
  • MGT 140, Quantitative Decision Making

If you intend to pursue a major that requires one of these courses, you should enroll in the specific course designated by that major, not IQL 101. In fact, you can fulfill the QL requirement by completing any one of these courses in place of IQL 101. Your academic advisor can help you determine the appropriate course to take.

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Integrative Studies Program

Mark C. Long
Director
603-358-2695

"We see that students are developing stronger skills in writing, are more challenged and more confident in their ability to meet new challenges, and are getting a better sense of what is happening in the world around them."

Dr. Gordon Leversee
A Liberal Arts Education:
One Father’s Experience