Youth Studies, an interdisciplinary undergraduate program within the School of Social Work, prepares students for youth work practice and youth scholarship, emphasizing work with urban young people. The program's 3-member faculty offers courses emphasizing community engagement. Assignments in this major reflect this emphasis and include site visits, program observations, service-learning, international exchanges, and internships.
Approved in Fall 2018, Youth Studies’ third-edition Writing Plan builds on a department-wide commitment to deepening faculty understanding of students' experience of writing in the major and to increasing instructional cohesion and reinforcement among the curriculum’s courses and instructors. The faculty is dedicated to addressing the student perception that while approaches to content are cohesive, approaches to writing instruction vary from course to course. As one participant in a student focus group discussion put it, "The content, I think, really flows together between [different courses] and really interlocks with each other. But writing...it's different styles and it's kind of like different tools at all times."
To implement its third-edition Writing Plan, the faculty has launched a three-pronged strategy: First, they will leverage members’ expertise in programmatic assessment by designing and completing an annual process evaluation. This evaluation process will look at how the Youth Studies faculty has implemented WEC activities and how these activities impact student writing abilities and student writing experiences in the major. Second, in order to better understand students’ writing-related concerns and to connect students with existing sources of writing support, the department has hired an experienced graduate student who will serve as an embedded “writing coach.” Third, the faculty has planned a series of facilitated discussions that will focus specifically on teaching with writing in courses that enroll high percentages of students from underrepresented populations and/or who are first-generation college attendees.