Academic institutions have policies and regulations in place to uphold educational standards as well as to ensure the safety and…

Academic institutions have policies and regulations in place to uphold educational standards as well as to ensure the safety and fair treatment of all students.  While those policies are usually well intended, some policies do not work as expected because of the ways in which they are designed, phrased or implemented. The same policy may also affect different people in different ways, and some policies that are helpful for some people may not be well received by others. People who are affected by these policies might respond in a number of ways: some may accept the policies as they are and abide by them regardless of how they feel about them, while others might try to change them by persuading those in power to change or abolish the policies–or at least change the ways they are implemented. If the policies are well designed and implemented but widely misunderstood, it is also possible to communicate with those who are affected to clarify the misunderstanding, providing a different way of seeing the current situation.

The goal of this project is to address a policy issue that affects members of the campus community–students, faculty, staff and administrators. What are some of the current issues and concerns that members of your institution are discussing? What are some of the controversies that are being covered by student newspapers and other campus publications? What policies are in place–or not in place–that may be related to those issues? Who are the stakeholders being affected by those policies and in what ways? Could the situation be improved by creating a new policy, or modifying or abolishing the current policy? Could the issue be resolved by changing the ways in which current policies are implemented? Or could it be addressed by raising the awareness among the stakeholders?

Once you have identified a policy issue, find out as much information as you can about the policy. Possible sources of information could include policy documents, policy makers, people who implement or enforce the policy and people who are affected by the policy. You may choose to interview or survey some of the people involved. You may also find relevant information in local publications, such as campus newspapers and websites.

As you do your research, consider the following questions: What is the policy? Who created it and for what purpose? How effective is the policy? How is it implemented? Which members of the community are being affected by it and how? How is the policy or the implementation perceived by the members of the community? What solutions have already been proposed? What other possible solutions can you think of? If policy changes are needed, who are in the position to create, change, or abolish relevant policies?

Once you have a sense of the issue that you want to address, you will need to determine what type of action needs to be taken in order to address it.  Could the problem that you are focusing on be solved by the creation of a new policy or by modifying a policy that is currently in place?  Or, would it be easier to solve if an existing policy was abolished or the implementation of it was improved?  Upon asking yourself these questions, you should have a better idea of the type of action that needs to be taken in order to solve or alleviate the problem.  Then, write a formal proposal in which you call for that action to be taken.  Ideally, you should address your proposal to the person or group of people who are in the position to accept or consider it.  Thus, you will want to include an overview of the problem, including reasons as to why it is an issue.  After you have established the reason for your proposal, you will want to explain what it is that you are proposing, whether it is the creation, modification, or abolishment of a policy or improving the way that an existing policy is currently implemented.  In other words, what is your plan?  In addition to explaining your proposed course of action, you will also need to include facts and/or research to support your plan and also convince your audience why they should adopt or consider your proposal.

Another option you have is to employ a combination of genres to persuade your audience to create, modify, improve, or abolish the policy you choose.  The genres will depend not only upon the policy that you choose, but also upon your audience.  Who needs to know about this policy? Who are the individuals or institutions that can enact change? For example, you may need to write a letter to the editor, or even a letter to address the policy makers directly.  In other cases, you may want to contact peers, classmates, or future students to spread awareness for the policy. You can target the public at large by writing a news article or exposé on the policy and why it necessitates change. You may choose to create a visual argument (flier, poster, advertisement, public service announcement, brochure) to publicize the policy and why it needs to be created, changed, or eliminated.  Or, you can take your policy to the digital world: create a blog post, Facebook group or event, or petition (like on that explains the policy (or lack thereof) to spread awareness of the issue and policy.  If you choose this option, you will write an additional rhetorical rationale that justifies the genres you choose and the decisions you make within each genre.

Your Policy proposal should be about 2,000 words in length, written in a 12-point font like Times New Roman, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins; also always include your name, ASU ID, class and section number, and date in the top left corner of your first page, as well as a List of Works Cited of sources you use in your Writing Project, in APA format (see the OWL at Purdue). You will submit both a rough draft of your paper (on which I and two of your peers will give you feedback, to be used in your revisions) and a final draft on Blackboard, and you will bring a revised draft to class for additional peer and instructor feedback; I will create the relevant links in time for you to submit your assignment drafts on Blackboard

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *