The kinesiology department at SF State is changing their Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement, commonly known as GWAR, class from Kin 330, Becoming a Kinesiologist, to Kin 384, Research Methods, for the Fall 2017 semester.
After a year of deliberation among faculty, a small change in the research methods course was submitted and approved by the College of Health and Social Sciences, according to Marialice Kern, kinesiology department chair.
“The materials used for the Kin 330 GWAR, Becoming a Kinesiologist, course was not really a good use of the three units, so by cutting out Kin 330, we decreased the unit requirements of the major by three,” Kern said.
Kern said kinesiology students would still be unable to graduate this semester without Research Methods, but will be required take the GWAR version of the course if they plan to graduate next fall.
Kern believes combining the classes will benefit students with additional peer review and extended opportunities to work and collaborate on writing assignments already built into the course.
“The writing assignments which are currently a part of Research Methods, which, I believe, are two papers and an oral presentation, will now have additional editing from the instructor and peer review assignments to enhance the quality of the final product,” Kern said. “Research Methods is still Research Methods, you will just have more help and more chances to improve your grade on the writing assignments that were always part of the class.”
Kern says the change doesn’t affect graduating students or those immediately nearing graduation because both classes were a requirement for the kinesiology major prior to the change.
Cynthia Sosa, who is finishing her final year of undergrad this semester, believes otherwise.
“A lot of people are just saying it’s unfair because we had to take both classes separate,” Sosa said. “It may seem like (it’s) not a big deal, but we already have to take so many classes as kin majors that are always full… it’s just a tough time getting every class you need to graduate in time.”
Sixth-year kinesiology major Mouang Saeliaw thinks the combination would add too heavy a load for students to take on in one semester.
“I found GWAR (Kin 330) to be helpful, but I do feel that GWAR and research methods should be taken separately because it’s critical that we learn to do resumes, cover letters and pretty much learning to write and cite a paper correctly,” Saeliaw said. “I just feel like it’s too much for one person to learn in just one semester.”
Third-year kinesiology major Alina Duarte believes the change is good for future kinesiology majors but inconvenient for current students affected by the Fall 2017 implementation.
“It affects the people I know because some have taken one but not the other, so now next semester they have to retake GWAR in order to finish their core requirements, or take summer school research methods,” Duarte said. “That’s inconvenient.”
Although Sosa agrees the change to the GWAR class is better for future students, she argues the way department relayed the message was not as clear as it should have been.
“I’m more confused on how it would apply to those people (who) have either taken GWAR already and only need research methods, or vice versa — would that mean they’re taking GWAR or research methods again?” Sosa said. “It’s not very clear, we usually hear these announcements indirectly, almost like rumors or gossip in the halls between students.”