All Millikin students take a sequence of university studies courses designed to provide a challenging development through the first three years of study at Millikin. Three learning threads are introduced and developed through the sequential requirements: (1) ethical reasoning, (2) reflection, and (3) intensive writing. The sequential courses — IN140, IN150, IN151, IN250, IN251 and IN350 — form a common learning experience for undergraduate students at Millikin.

IN140 - University Seminar

University Seminar is designed to bridge the gap between high school and college learning. One of the first courses that Millikin students take, IN140 Freshman Seminar, introduces freshman to academic inquiry. Students also make important connections with faculty members and other students, providing students with a stronger sense of community. Covering the breadth of the college experience, students examine orientation issues as well as strategies for academic success. They begin to question their assumptions and to practice communicating with diverse groups. The University Seminar classroom is intended to be a place of community, shared learning, and intellectual growth.

IN150/IN151 - Critical Reading, Writing, and Research I & II

Critical Reading, Writing and Research I, a cohort to University Seminar, more fully explores student entry into academic inquiry. Students examine the connection between critical reading and writing and the opportunities such an exploration creates for academic success. Spring semester students continue to grow their intellectual inquiry in Critical Reading, Writing and Research II. The class emphasizes vital skills for academic and professional success. Students investigate and research a topic of their choice.

IN250 - United States Cultural Studies

Sophomore year. United States Cultural Studies courses explore the diversity of cultures in the United States, including historical perspectives that inform contemporary understandings of diversity issues. “Culture” refers to learned systems of meanings, and their representations, that people use to interact with the world around them, including language, values, beliefs, norms, traditions, customs, history, art, and artifacts. Students will build on their introduction to ethical thinking by considering ethical and social justice issues and their responsibilities for democratic citizenship. These courses include a significant research component, are writing intensive, and require exploration of primary sources (e.g., texts, scholarly research, music, artifacts, etc).

IN251 - United States Structural Studies

Sophomore year. United States Structural Studies courses explore the diversity of groups and institutions in the United States, including historical perspectives that inform contemporary understandings of diversity issues. “Social structures” refers to generally stable patterns of interactions, from the smallest units found in individual social relationships, through larger economic, political and social institutions in societies, to worldwide systems of relationships among nations. Students will build on their introduction to ethical thinking by considering ethical and social justice issues and their responsibilities for democratic citizenship. These courses include a significant research component, are writing intensive, and require exploration of primary sources (e.g., texts, scholarly research, music, artifacts, etc).

IN350 - Global Issues

Global Issues courses, taken during the junior year, explore a topic of global importance. Students will continue to develop their understanding of democratic citizenship with an intense focus on a particular issue of global importance and associated ethical and social justice issues. These courses include a significant research component, are writing intensive, and require exploration of primary sources (e.g., texts, music, artifacts, etc.).

Affiliated with Millikin’s sequenced University Studies program, the Critical Writing, Reading, and Research Program is a two-course sequence required of all students. This two-course sequence reflects Millikin’s commitment to writing excellence — a commitment that is reinforced through the sequenced University Studies program.

If you have questions about this program, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Jeff Kirchoff (jkirchoff@millikin.edu), the first-year writing coordinator.

Course Descriptions

Critical Writing, Reading & Research I (IN 150) is designed to develop students as critical writers, readers, and researchers. Emphasis is placed on writing and reading as the path to critical thinking. Students are asked to read and critique texts actively, deliberately, and carefully as well as to write polished, informed essays for personal, public, and/or specialized audiences, and to reflect on the uses of reading and writing in their public and personal lives to better understand themselves, their communities, and the world.

Critical Writing, Reading & Research II (IN 151) is designed to position students as successful writers, readers and researchers as they move into advanced coursework. In addition to continuing to develop reading and writing skills introduced in the first semester course, students will be asked to conduct research to participate in academic inquiry. Each student will write a research paper that demonstrates the ability to incorporate resources and contribute to academic discourse and communities.

Critical Writing, Reading, and Research Student Outcome Learning Goals

The learning outcome goals for students taking CWRRI (IN150) and CWRRII (IN151) are that students will be able to:

  • Read critically to comprehend, analyze, and evaluate texts
  • Write polished, informed essays for personal, public, and/or specialized audiences
  • Conduct research to participate in academic inquiry
  • Reflect formally on engagements with critical reading, writing, and research to acquire, examine, and present self-awareness

Performance-Based Learning

The Critical Writing, Reading, and Research (CWRR) program at Millikin University is committed to the university-wide Performance Learning initiative. One of our newest efforts that supports Performance Learning is the Millikin Premier Writing Contest. This program, established in 2013-2014, rewards and celebrates first-year student achievement through publishing exceptional work produced by first-year writers in our IN 151 classroom.

A team of student-editors (usually comprised of junior or senior English majors — all of whom undergo an application process) reviews all submissions from the first-year writers; the student-editors then use a rubric to determine the best pieces for this publication. Winning authors closely work with the student-editors to refine and revise their piece. All of the polished writings are published in an annual collection, produced by Millikin's student-run business, Bronze Man Books.

Additionally, many of our CWRR students present their work produced in the first-year writing classroom at Millikin’s Celebration of Scholarship. This not only gives students valuable presentation experience, it also helps students think about their writing in terms of audience and context; simply put, they must consider ways to make a piece written in the classroom a meaningful, engaging presentation that appeals to a wide audience.

The sequential course requirements provide an interdisciplinary series of connected learning experiences for all Millikin students. Sequential course requirements include IN140, IN150, IN151, IN250, IN251, and IN350. The sequential courses share and build across the curriculum the following learning threads for ongoing student engagement and learning: (1) Reflection—all sequential elements engage our students in reflection. (2) Ethical Reasoning—all sequential elements except IN150/151 engage our students in ethical reasoning.(3) Writing Intensive—all sequential elements in the University Studies program except IN140 are writing intensive.

Reflection: At Millikin, student reflection is one of the distinguishing features of our teaching mission; evidence of effective use of student reflection in teaching is recognized by the conferral of the Teaching Excellence award on faculty at the annual Honors Convocation. Because student reflection is a Millikin teaching and learning distinctive, it should be one of the main goals that runs vertically through the University Studies program. Reflection is integrated into IN140 through a service learning project. Reflection is one of the four learning goals being delivered and assessed in IN150/IN151. Reflection is one of the goals for IN250, IN251 and IN350.

Ethical Reasoning: All sequential elements except IN150/151 deliberately engage our students in ethical reasoning. Students will use ethical reasoning to analyze issues that impact their personal lives as well as their local, national, and global communities.

Writing Intensive: All sequential elements in the University Studies program except IN140 are writing intensive. Writing intensive courses include elements of instruction such as (1) Integrated writing and critical thinking activities to promote learning; (2) Instruction and coaching as students write; (3) Guided revision for at least one formal writing assignment;(4) Assessment of the quality of the writing by the characteristics of effective prose, including grammar, organization, and support; (5) Written work which represents a substantial portion of the grade; and(6) Referrals to the Writing Center and support for students needing help with grammar and other elements of composition.