3.3 | Essay 2

CSP61 Liberal Arts at the Brink?

Prof. Sargent

Essay 2 Due Monday March 4 (10%)



Due: Essay. Define the most pressing crisis in higher education today, construct an argument about its primary causes, and offer a student-led solution that addresses the primary causes. Use course readings, additional news sources, and your interviews as evidence. Essays should be ~1000 words.

Stuck with a blank page?

  • Re-read your or others’ reflections and provocations on the blog
  • Return to the news articles you discovered if Google Reader or find new ones
  • Re-read your interview transcripts and explore the themes and transcripts of other students in the Dropbox
  • Return to your favorite reading or course discussion notes

Assignment Description:

This essay assignment brings us closer to the early stages of the research process. Defining the topic (the crisis) using course readings and news sources should be straightforward. Identifying the causes of the crisis and finding evidence for your argument will be more challenging.

In this essay focus on the logical alignment between the crisis, it’s causes, and the proposed solution. Use as much evidence as you have at your disposal, knowing that part of your task will be to collect more evidence for the final paper.

As in Essay 1, essays should have a clearly stated thesis and a “hook” that draws the reader’s attention to the relevance of the argument. This thesis should be supported by evidence drawn from the course and its materials, interviews, and outside news sources. While personal experience may be a relevant source of evidence, personal experience should always be placed in relation to other data. Essays should also include a consideration of the counter argument and its evidence as a means to strengthen the main argument. Finally, essays should conclude by suggesting further lines of inquiry or action that follow from the argument.

Essays should be approximately 1000 words.

Submit Essays as word or pdf file to sargent@oxy.edu please use the file name LastName_Essay2

Assessment Rubric:

Here are qualities that I will be reading for:

  1. Essay employs and develops earlier ideas from reading Reflections.
  2. Essay has a clear and engaging thesis statement and “hook” that presents the argument of the essay.
  3. Argument synthesizes key ideas from the course rather than restating the argument of a particular reading.
  4. Argument is carried out consistently and clearly throughout the paper. In particular, there is a logical alignment between the crisis, its causes, and the proposed solution.
  5. Argument is supported by evidence.
    1. Evidence draws correctly and specifically on key ideas from a range of assigned readings.
    2. Evidence goes beyond personal experience to include additional data sources from interviews and outside news sources.
    3. When using examples and drawing on course materials avoid jargon – treat your reader as someone who is college educated and who has not taken this course or read these materials.
    4. Argument is made stronger through a consideration of counter argument and its evidence.
    5. Essay concludes with suggestions for further lines of inquiry or action that may be taken based upon the argument.



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