Yesterday the Composition and Rhetoric faculty hosted an open house for students interested in our new Writing Certificate program. I wasn't sure how many people we would show up but, perhaps due to the presence of free food, we had a great turn-out. Mostly literature, psychology, and early childhood education majors--all of whom expressed a great deal of interest in pursuing the Certificate program in addition to their majors.
Mostly the event provided a chance to socialize, great in and of itself given that there aren't enough opportunities for meaningful faculty-student interaction outside of the classroom (service learning initiatives represent one such opportunity). I managed to talk to just about every student who showed up and was happy that "writing" meant something to each. The history major who writes fantasy fiction. The guy interested in teaching writing at the college level. The psychology student who has no interest in clinical work but wishes to do research. I like the "certificate" model, with its combination of flexible classroom work and practicum. If yesterday's open house was any indication, the model is also attractive to our students.