Texas Tech University has a long-standing commitment to enhance students’ ability to communicate effectively, whether orally or in writing. The university also understands that to be effective leaders and workers—whether in government, health care, industry, information services, education, or anything else—our graduates need to be globally aware. Bear Our Banners Far and Wide: Communicating in a Global Society is a five-year Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that is designed to improve both the communication skills and global awareness of undergraduates. Given their shared dependence, that both concerns—communication skills and global literacy—should find themselves front and center of this project is no accident. To ensure that students are prepared to become “ethical leaders for a diverse and globally competitive workplace,” two specific areas of undergraduate education were targeted: the three-hour Multicultural course requirement and the six-hour, upper-division Writing Intensive requirement.
Multicultural Course Requirement
Texas Tech University’s three-hour Multicultural course requirement is unique among Texas universities. The Multicultural course focuses on U.S. subcultures or the cultures of other societies while responding to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board core curriculum objective of social responsibility. It asks faculty to include lessons that enable students to gain a greater understanding of intercultural competence and enhance their ability to engage effectively with global communities.
There are upwards of 53 different Multicultural courses students can choose from at Texas Tech, including “Introduction to Agricultural Education,” “World Dance Forms,” and “World of Egypt and the Near East.” These courses will be dispersed throughout the curriculum as well as taught through TTU Worldwide eLearning. Students can also fulfill the requirement by completing the approved Study Abroad Program, with assessments by the TTU Study Abroad Office.
Writing Intensive Requirement
The six-hour Writing Intensive (WI) requirement has always had as its goal the preparation of students to communicate effectively in writing. However, the need for students to adapt to evolving communication technologies has prompted Texas Tech to include other forms of communication. While writing will still retain its position as the primary focus of communication skills, students will have the opportunity to improve their oral, visual, aural, and corporeal communication skills as well. To do this, the writing intensive requirement has become the Communication Literacy (CL) requirement.
The Communication Literacy requirement gives faculty the flexibility to emphasize different modes of communication that may be important to a discipline. For example, the ability to communicate orally face-to-face with clients or patients may be a vital skill for students in health or counseling professions, while business majors may need to learn the writing, organizational, and public speaking skills necessary for strong and effective oral presentations.
Communication Training Center
While the University Writing Center at Texas Tech has long provided students with strategies and instruction they need to order to become more effective communicators in writing, the new Communication Training Center (CTC) administered by the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech will provide faculty and graduate teaching assistants the resources they need to model exemplary communication in the classroom. Texas Tech graduates must be prepared to communicate professionally in any platform, including social media and PowerPoint presentations, so that no matter the means of delivery, the meaning is clearly and coherently articulated.
The 2016-2020 Texas Tech University QEP Bear Our Banners Far and Wide: Communicating in a Global Society addresses the need for students to be learners for a diverse and globally competitive workforce. It marks a profound set of opportunities for students, as well as chances for institutional change, and ensures that the mission of the university will be forever strengthened by the work of faculty and students alike.