Writing Plan Phases
Collecting Baseline Data
First Edition Writing Plan
Second Edition Writing Plan
Third Edition Writing Plan
  • phase completed
  • phase in-progress

The undergraduate program in Apparel Design blends theory and practice to understand how textiles and apparel products relate to human behavior and design processes. In our research-oriented curricula, students develop and build on strong foundational knowledge of the textile and clothing development process, from design to production and marketing. The creative, critical, and technical thinking skills of our 78 majors are put into action as they engage with a variety of projects and portfolio development.

Informed by early involvement with WEC discussions at the department level, ADES views writing holistically, as a multi-modal embodiment of thinking and knowledge. Apparel Design students represent their ideas, analysis, and arguments through a variety of representation media, and engage with many different ways of knowing, cultures, and audiences during the course of their degree. While the faculty view this intellectual diversity as a strength, it has presented challenges for assessment of writing in the program. The program’s criteria for writing abilities have undergone some iteration and discussion over the course of the WEC program history, spurred to some extent by challenges that arose during assessment cycles. No one writing assignment in the degree addresses all of the potential criteria articulated by the faculty as important skills and abilities for ADES graduates, and many of the criteria were difficult to interpret with respect to the writing samples considered. ADES students also struggled to understand their writing in all of its forms, tending to assume traditional writing structures and overlook forms like presentations, technical communications, or artists’ statements.

Apparel Design Writing Plan

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Writing in Apparel Design

The Apparel Design faculty generated the following description in response to the question, “What characterizes academic and professional communication in this discipline?"

  • Skillfully applies field-specific terminology
  • Is active, imaginative, and is oriented toward discovery
  • Employs a professional “I”, or first-person voice, using a voice that is authoritative and moves beyond subjective reactions
  • Adds new insights and information to existing conversation
  • Uses a professional tone and perspective
  • Engages design problems and contributes to the field’s discussion of these problems
  • Is attentive to process used in developing solutions to key problems
  • Works critically, analytically, and synthetically with ideas
  • Is descriptive and observation based; writers in this field move from critical observation to nuanced communication
  • Attends to directions
  • Addresses a variety of audiences, both academic and professional
  • Uses concise, directive prose
  • Focuses logically and persuasively on design, rather than designer or advocate, as its subject

Writing Abilities Expected of Apparel Design Majors

The Apparel Design faculty generated the following list in response to the question, “With which writing abilities should students in this unit’s major(s) graduate?”

  1. Uses a professional tone while at the same time compellingly revealing a writer’s voice.
  2. Use writing, speaking, and sketching processes to develop ideas.
  3. Present ideas, sell solutions with confidence that is derived from demeanor, transparency to logic, evocative description, use of evidence.
  4. Develop personal and professional voices.
  5. Gather and integrate into their writing ideas drawn from a variety of sources; enhance credibility by identifying and using accurate information; approach and use source information critically and analytically; base new ideas on precedent and theory.
  6. Move someone (audience); convey and inspire passion.
  7. Be nimble and quick: analyze and synthesize a lot of information quickly, and forecast the future.
  8. Integrate visuals and numeric information into verbal information, portray dynamic relationships between human behavior and design.
  9. Work-write as a team member on collaborative endeavors.
  10. Respect and accept critical evaluations of writing and be able to respectfully and constructively critique the writing of others.

Menu of Grading Criteria Used in Apparel Design Courses

Faculty in the Apparel Design program have articulated a menu of grading criteria:

  1. Uses a professional tone, while at the same time compellingly revealing the writer's voice.
  2. Writes at a level appropriate to the target audience (uses terminology accurately and appropriately with no unnecessary jargon).
  3. Describes concepts evocatively.
  4. Conveys solutions to problems using persuasive evidence and logic.
  5. Presents ideas from credible sources that support central arguments.
  6. Uses APA citation style.
  7. Critically interprets ideas and sources.
  8. Uses precedent and theory to contextualize and/or critique new ideas.
  9. Tone inspires or reflects interest and/or passion.
  10. Identifies key points and information found in evidential sources.
  11. Draws insightful connections between ideas, sources, and variables.
  12. Uses visual and/or numeric information to support points.
  13. Signals relevance of visuals and/or numeric information within the text.
  14. Labels visual and/or numeric information consistently.
  15. Contains few, if any, distracting errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Highlights from the Writing Plan

Apparel Design is still engaged in a major curriculum revision. As this process unfolds, we will be mapping core knowledge, skills, and competencies across the program, and tracking those elements through our course structure. For each element, key artifacts that reflect student learning will be identified, most of which fall under our working definition of “writing”. These include written documents, visual/multimedia presentations, physical artifacts such as garments, and visual representations of ideas and concepts such as drawings or collages.

Three outputs of the curriculum redesign process will be 1) our set of core competencies and program values; 2) our set of key learning artifacts; and 3) our continuing curriculum assessment plan. Writing abilities, written artifacts, and criteria for the assessment of verbal, written, visual, and material artifacts are all part of the process of bringing added clarity to our program.  The core competencies and values will be used to define criteria for student success for each key learning artifact, and these competencies/values and success criteria will be used to develop an ongoing assessment plan that will generate meaningful feedback for ADES faculty. The ongoing assessment plan will provide opportunities for regular review of students' work by members of the faculty to ensure the alignment of the curriculum with our goals.

We will continue to implement a holistic curriculum revision, for which the identification of writing competencies and learning artifacts is foundational. We aim to produce a working direction for curriculum changes by the end of this academic year, and begin implementing those changes in the 2022-2023 academic year. The revision includes development of an assessment plan, which will articulate the methods and metrics by which success of the new curriculum will be measured.