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General Education

Guidelines for Teaching Proficiency-Intensive Courses

ETSU's Across-the-Curriculum Programs in Oral Communication, Writing, and Information Technology

Helping Students Succeed

To succeed on the job and in their personal lives, our students must speak and listen effectively, write skillfully, and be able to use information technology. Students begin to develop these skills by taking foundation courses such as English composition, speech communication and computer science. However, it's important to keep building and using these skills throughout one's college career. For this reason, ETSU requires all students to take courses in their majors and across the curriculum that offer concentrated experience in oral communication, writing, and using information technology.

Helping Students Learn

Every academic department at ETSU offers oral communication-intensive (ICOM), information technology-intensive (ITEC), and writing-intensive (IWRT) courses. "Proficiency-intensive" courses teach subject matter while also giving students the opportunity to practice selected skills.

  • Every proficiency-intensive course must pass a careful review to ensure that it gives students the opportunity and support they need to practice these skills.

  • ETSU offers special training for instructors of proficiency-intensive courses, and we review the syllabi of already approved courses to make sure they continue to offer students excellent educational opportunities.

  • Proficiency-intensive courses generally enroll less than 30 students, so students can receive individualized attention.

ETSU’s Center for Academic Achievement offers daytime, evening and weekend assistance to students wanting to build their oral communication and writing skills.


Proficiency-intensive requirements ordinarily will not increase the number of courses needed to earn the degree, because ICOM, ITEC, and IWRT courses are typically those already needed for the major, minor, general education, or to complete elective hours.

Effective fall 2002 Students who enter ETSU as freshmen or with less than 60 transfer hours must take

  • 2 oral communication-intensive courses, of which at least one must be in the major
  • 1 information technology-intensive course, which at least one must be in the major
  • 4 writing-intensive courses. At least 2 of these must be in the major; at least 2 must be at the 3000-4000 level.

Effective fall 2002 students who transfer to ETSU after earning an associate degree or 60 or more hours of transfer credit must take

  • 1 oral communication-intensive course
  • 1 information technology-intensive course
  • 2 writing-intensive courses

Students must meet proficiency-intensive requirements through courses taken at ETSU.

For More Information

Contact the Directors of ETSU's Oral Communication, Information Technology, and Writing Proficiency Programs for more information about proposing courses for proficiency-intensive status or help in teaching existing proficiency-intensive courses.

For information on ETSU's Tutoring services, contact .

Rob Russell

Oral Communication Proficiency Program
Wesley Buerkle

Information Technology Proficiency Program
Kellie Price

Writing Proficiency Program
Mark Holland

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