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

The Department of Animal Science in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, is recognized nationally and internationally for its excellent research, teaching, and extension programs in animal agriculture and animal biology. The 31 core faculty and instructors in animal science undergraduate major prepare students for veterinary school, work as managers or technical advisors for animal production systems, various careers in animal industries or biotechnology, or graduate study in animal-related specializations. Areas of emphasis include industry and business, production, companion animal, equine, or pre-veterinary science. In addition, depending on the area of emphasis, students may select from the following areas of study: dairy, beef, sheep, swine, equine, companion animal, or poultry. Our faculty members have received national recognition for the quality of their classroom instruction and attention to student needs and concerns.

Animal Science Writing Plan

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Writing in Animal Science

The Animal Science faculty generated the following list in response to the question, “What characterizes academic and professional communication in this discipline?”

  1. Intentional and strategic with word choices
  2. Correct in usage and academic vocabulary
  3. Concise
  4. Organized so that logically flows 
  5. Fully developed and detailed
  6. Supported by relevant examples
  7. Effectively proofread
  8. Targeted for the intended audience
  9. Supported with evidence.
  10. Varied in sentence structure and vocabulary
  11. Rooted in an understanding of the scientific literature
  12. Not hyperbolic ‐ does not overstate or state in absolute
  13. Grammatically and syntactically correct
  14. Expressive of original ideas and insight
  15. Focused
  16. Backed by deeper thought and analysis

Writing Abilities Expected of Animal Science Majors

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

Minimum Requirements for Writing in the Major:

  1. Communicate in various forms, including research writing, professional reports, recommendations, visual communication, posters, and presentations.
  2. Be familiar with and use common structures of scientific writing (Abstracts, rationales, materials and methods, results, discussion).
  3. Gather data from published research, labs, and field experiences.
  4. Understand, interpret, and evaluate research and data to draw evidence‐based conclusions.
  5. Obtain information from reliable sources and evaluate research to produce analysis and recommendations that include references to scientific literature.
  6. Demonstrate critical reasoning in their analyses and when recommending courses of action or treatment.
  7. Engage with stakeholders to identify problems and present creative, effective, and practical solutions.
  8. Engage with clinical cases, assessments, diagnoses, and treatment plans.
  9. Demonstrate familiarity with the economic considerations of animal professions, including cost/benefit analysis, key financial ratios, and profit/loss.
  10. Organize their writing for the purposes and tasks of research, lab, and fieldwork.
  11. Produce concise and focused professional communication, such that they will be prepared for workplace contexts and further education.
  12. Use the technical and professional vocabulary of the discipline.
  13. Tailor writing to be understood by diverse audiences, including but not limited to: scientists, producers, agribusiness professionals, government, animal owners, and the public.
  14. Include citations of references as elements of their finished research writing.
  15. Use tone and register to polish their presentations and writing (avoiding slang, clichés, or language that is too casual).
  16. Proofread their documents to reduce common errors (spelling, punctuation, and usage).

Menu of Grading Criteria Used in Animal Science Courses

  1. Documents will show conceptual knowledge by using the academic vocabulary of the field in scientific, technical, and commercial contexts.
  2. Students will select appropriate data to incorporate graphs, tables, models, and figures to record data and illustrate conclusions in their documents.
  3. Documents will be presented in various visual forms (scientific papers, posters, presentations) to suit the purpose and audience and use organizational structures typical of those forms.
  4. Documents will be well detailed in their observations, descriptions, and analysis.
  5. Documents will be edited for concision and use a tone appropriate to the technical expertise of the audience.
  6. Documents will meet standards for recording data in each setting, including:
    • Clearly state the question/focus of each research entry
    • Identify specific conditions/protocol present or used
    • Record data accurately; Provide clear statements of data/statistical analysis, preliminary results, and conclusions, and determine next step for research.
  7. Analysis and interpretation of data will include clear descriptions of analytical tools and methods, and conclusions will not extend beyond the data.
  8. Writing in clinical contexts will reflect the conventions of clinical cases, diagnoses, and treatment plans.
  9. Writing in professional/commercial contexts will comprehensively explore multiple perspectives and options, reflect a careful analysis of quantitative measures, and present solutions that make a transparent case for a feasible course of action.
  10. When documents include secondary sources, they will integrate summary and analysis of secondary sources, including peer‐reviewed articles, professional meeting reports, extension reports, and other professional and disciplinary literature, and synthesize important findings and conclusions.
  11. Documents that include secondary sources will include in‐text citation and reference materials in a form assigned by the instructor.
  12. Documents will be largely free of common errors in grammar, spelling, and usage.

Highlights from the Writing Plan

In its third-edition Writing Plan, the Department of Animal Science will continue to promote meaningful writing instruction in its required courses and seek to further integrate departmentally determined writing criteria into assignments and activities. Building on the success of prior workshops and consultations, we will promote individual consultations for faculty and instructors regarding writing in their courses and continued discussions about writing assignments in faculty meetings and events. The focus of implementation efforts will be on expanding the number of faculty who use writing as an aspect of course instruction in their required courses, specifically communicating scientific insights to diverse audiences. Furthermore, the opportunity for a triennial assessment of student writing, the first since the initial interventions and implementation, will allow faculty to see the impacts of writing interventions in the curriculum and areas for growth and improvement.