Instructor Blog: Why English 101?

Students may wonder why ENGL 101 is required at Bryant & Stratton College. Why is writing research papers relevant for our students? The two biggest reasons are success in other courses, and to master writing and research skills that will be used in any field.
Success at Bryant & Stratton ENGL 101 is focused on learning how to incorporate research into a paper. This skill will be used in other courses to demonstrate learning in your field. Particularly for the portfolio projects in your field, it is essential to be able to have a basic grasp of in-text citation and the reference page.  Instructors and peers should be able to easily distinguish between outside sources and the writer’s own ideas. Also, being able to discuss ideas from sources demonstrates to instructors a level of understanding of course concepts and is a valuable part of the learning process. Students learn more by incorporating reading material into a research paper than by simply reading it.
One of the institutional outcomes at Bryant &Stratton is information literacy. An institutional outcome is a skill not directly related to a specific program, but essential for the knowledge needed to be a college graduate. Information Literacy means being able to locate information and integrate it into a document. While this may not seem like a skill used in certain fields, it represents essential critical thinking abilities. It is information literacy that teaches us how to look up information, and how to evaluate information for credibility. Information literacy guides us on everything from researching issues related to voting, to discerning which websites to believe on expected salaries.
While students may not actually write papers after graduating, the skills learned in the process of writing papers are essential for other kinds of documents as well as critical thinking in evaluating information. The skills used in writing research papers include outlining, creating a main point, supporting with research, and revision. These skills would be used for detailed emails to employers or colleagues, or a presentation. 
Even if APA formatting is not used, it is still important to have an understanding of how to integrate outside sources to support your own ideas. Strong writing skills are also part of the soft skills employers seek. The article “The Importance of Good Writing Skills in the Workplace” on the Small Business Chronicle website explains that writing skills are part of a how an employee comes across: “People with good writing skills are generally seen as more credible” (O’Farrell 2016, para. 4).  Even work emails are an opportunity to show professionalism. By practicing the skills of writing and research, our students will be prepared to excel in the courses related to their field, as well as possess the writing and research skills needed to be confident in the workplace writing they will need to do, beginning with the perfect resume!