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 Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering (CEGE) in the College of Science and Engineering currently employs 29 full-time faculty members and a dozen or so affiliates in five specialty areas: environmental, geomechanics, structures-mechanics, transportation, and water resources. The 200+ undergraduate majors are prepared for careers in government service, private consulting, industrial research, and academia.

In their first-edition Writing Plan in AY 2015-2016, CEGE focused on the development of an extensive curricular matrix that identified where its writing abilities were being taught within the curriculum along with possible opportunities for more explicit attention to specific writing tasks and abilities. For its second-edition Writing Plan, spanning AY 2016-2018, CEGE identified three core strategies for assisting students: (1) increasing the use of its writing criteria in course materials; (2) developing instructional support through consultations and workshops; and (3) integrating a departmental writing guide and library of student writing samples into three undergraduate core courses that have laboratory components: Civil Engineering Materials (CEGE 3402W), Fluid Mechanics (CEGE 3502), and Environmental Engineering Laboratory (CEGE 3541).

With its third-edition Writing Plan, approved by the Campus Writing Board in April 2019, CEGE is continuing its efforts to further develop and integrate its writing guide into the curriculum. The department has also launched an internal assessment of student writing in CEGE 3042W (Civil Engineering Materials) that seeks to measure the development of undergraduate writers over the course of the semester. The department’s recently developed writing-intensive course in Product Management (CEGE 4101W) offers a fine statement about the importance of writing on its syllabus, one which reflects CEGE’s commitment to its undergraduates:

"When you graduate from the University of Minnesota with a degree in civil, environmental, or geo- engineering, you will all possess the computational and analytical skills expected of an entry-level engineer. But, this is not enough. One of your key competencies will be the ability to effectively communicate with a wide variety of audiences. You will have to communicate with your supervisor, professional peers, and subordinates; contractors and construction workers; past and present clients, as well as potential future clients; elected officials; federal, state, and local governmental regulators and reviewers; and, perhaps most frighteningly, the general public. The breadth of this list of audiences is unique to civil, environmental, and geo- engineering. Writing will be your most common form of professional communication. You will spend a significant fraction of your time writing — even as a junior engineer. You will be called on to write memos, emails, proposals, press releases, invoices, instructions, recommendations and explanations, reports, and design documents. Sometimes you will be writing by yourself and sometimes writing as a member of a team. In short, writing is a required professional skill for all civil, environmental, and geoengineers. We will be working on this skill in this class.”

Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering Writing Plan