Search Options
ETSU Faculty/Staff
ETSU Students
ETSU People Search
General Education

How does ETSU help students build oral communication, writing, and information technology skills?

To succeed on the job and in their personal lives, students need to speak and listen effectively, write skillfully, and use information technology.  Students begin to develop these skills in the freshman year by taking required courses in speech communication, English and computer science.  To help students keep building these skills throughout the college years, ETSU requires all students to take "proficiency-intensive" courses.

Proficiency-intensive courses aren't additional hours added to the student's program of study.  Rather, some of the courses students take in their majors or as electives have also been declared oral communication-intensive (ICOM), information technology-intensive (ITEC), or writing-intensive (IWRT) because the courses place special emphasis on helping students practice these skills.  Proficiency-intensive courses teach the subject matter of a field while also giving students the chance to practice important skills.  This is called an "across-the-curriculum" approach, and it is used by some of the best colleges and universities in the U.S.

Every academic department at ETSU offers ICOM courses, ITEC courses, and IWRT courses.  For a list of these courses, go to intensivecourses.  All proficiency-intensive courses are carefully reviewed by special faculty committees at ETSU.  Because these courses must meet many criteria, not just increased emphasis on a given skill, students must meet proficiency-intensive requirements with courses taken at ETSU ; courses transferred to ETSU do not meet these requirements.

ETSU also supports students' writing and oral communication skills through the Center for Academic Achievement - Tutoring, staffed by a full-time director and staff.  Our staff is made up of undergraduate, graduate, and professional tutors, as well as faculty volunteers, from a variety of majors and backgrounds. The center offers daytime, evening and weekend help to students.

Questions about proficiency-intensive requirements

What makes a course proficiency-intensive?

Faculty committees at ETSU carefully review each proficiency-intensive course to make sure it meets several criteria.  These criteria include:

  • how much practice in the skill is required in the course
  • the design of specific course assignments
  • the course grading system
  • enrollment caps on course sections
  • kinds and amount of feedback given on assignments
  • how instructors help students prepare for the assignments

In addition to reviewing proposals for new proficiency-intensive courses, faculty committees review the syllabi of already approved courses on a three-year rotation.

Why don't courses taken at other institutions meet ETSU's proficiency-intensive requirements?

Because proficiency-intensive courses must meet many criteria, not just increased emphasis on a given skill, it's not possible to review courses in transfer as candidates for proficiency-intensive credit at ETSU.

Also, we want ETSU students to use and build skills throughout their college careers. Therefore we urge all students to take some of their proficiency-intensive courses during the junior and senior years.  We don't want students to "get proficiency-intensive requirements out of the way" in the first two years of school.

However, ETSU significantly reduces the number of proficiency-intensive courses students must take if they earned associate degrees designed for transfer or if they transfer 60 or more hours of credit when they first enter ETSU.  (Students who re-enter ETSU and earned 60 or more credit hours prior to 1995 also meet the reduced proficiency-intensive requirements.)

Who should I contact if I have questions about ETSU's proficiency-intensive requirements?

Contact your advisor or the chair of your major department if you are experiencing any problems related to meeting proficiency-intensive requirements.

Transfer students with questions about proficiency-intensive requirements may also call the Advisement Resource Career Center (ARC), 222 D.P. Culp University Center at 423.439.8650 or email - .

direct edit