# 3.4: Proposal Section

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## Proposal

Checklist

Draft Checklist:

___General statement

___Very specific statements

___Summary statement

___Rationale statements

___Procedure statements

___Proposal statement

## Prompts

Once you articulate the problem, answer the following prompts to propose a solution to the problem:

checklist

1. What do you believe should change (what do you propose; 1 general statement)?
2. How can you describe or explain in great detail what you propose (3-5 very specific statements)?
3. How can you restate/summarize in other words what you are proposing (1 statement)?
4. Why should we do what you are proposing (3-5 rationale statements)?
5. What steps must you take to implement your proposal (3-5 procedure statements)?
6. How can you restate/summarize what you are proposing (1 statement)?

Below is an example/template for writing a proposal. The sentences answer the questions above. The words in bold are phrases that reflect the questions – you may use these phrases as a template.

## Template/Draft

Template/Draft from Prompts:

Proposal

I believe that Newman needs a writing proficiency requirement for graduation. A writing proficiency requirement should not be a test, but should be a series of choices that students have while they are here to show they are proficient writers without having to be “tested.” If a student presents a paper, or qualifies for tutor in the Writing Center, for example, this indicates that he or she is proficient. If not accepted for these kinds of events, there should be a course offered as a choice. If a student passes this course, he or she is considered proficient.

In other words, Newman students should be able to participate in events or writing projects that will indicate that they are proficient enough in academic writing to graduate. Newman students should be able to participate in events or writing projects that will indicate that they are proficient enough in academic writing to graduate because there is no test that indicates proficiency – we simply have to see their writing. Also, writing is a way to learn other subjects, so should not be measured until the end of their careers rather than at the beginning or halfway through. They should have choices to meet the proficiency so that they can play to their strengths – writing in their majors – rather than some empty academic exercise. The first step towards implementing proficiency is for the university to create opportunities for students to present writing projects or show what they have done in writing. The next step is for individual faculty to identify what kinds of writing each student should include in these projects/opportunities. Once the faculty does this, students may apply these kinds of writing, as needed, to different projects. Next, the English department must create a course for those who do not participate in these projects. Finally, for those who do not want to take a course or participate in a project, the English department will develop a comprehensive test. I propose that Newman University help students meet their writing proficiency by offering a number of writing project opportunities, along with a course and an exam, from which they may choose, any one of which may meet the proficiency requirement.

## Tutorial

### Prompt 1 – General statement

What do you believe should change (what do you propose)? (1 statement)

An easy way to answer questions like these is to use words from the question in the answer, like this:

Q: What do you believe should change (what do you propose) in 1, general statement?

A: I believe that Newman needs a writing proficiency requirement for graduation.

OR: I propose a writing proficiency requirement for graduation from Newman.

### Prompt 2 – Specific statements

How can you describe or explain in great detail what you propose? (3-5 very specific statements)

Here you go into as much detail as you can about what you mean in your general statement above. An easy way to “elaborate” upon your general statement is to explain – in your own words – what you mean by the key words or phrases in that statement.

In my opening, general statement, the word that is key to understanding what I mean is “proficiency.” I will limit my explanation to 5 statements at most, but devote at least 3 to showing the reader what I mean by this word, or by the phrase “writing proficiency.”

Example $$\PageIndex{1}$$:

A writing proficiency requirement should not be a test, but should be a series of choices that students have while they are here to show they are proficient writers without having to be “tested.” If a student presents a paper, or qualifies for tutor in the Writing Center, for example, this indicates that he or she is proficient. If not accepted for these kinds of events, there should be a course offered as a choice. If a student passes this course, he or she is considered proficient.

### Prompt 3 – Summary statement

How can you restate/summarize in other words what you are proposing? (1 statement)

Now, look back at what you have written so far. Restate or summarize what you propose to do in a single statement.

Example $$\PageIndex{2}$$:

In other words, Newman students should be able to participate in events or writing projects that will indicate that they are proficient enough in academic writing to graduate.

Rule of Thumb

Whenever you summarize or restate what you have been talking about, alert the reader by using the universally recognized transition phrase that means “Here comes a summary”:

In other words, … Always follow this phrase with a comma.

### Prompt 4 – Rationale statements

Why should we do what you are proposing? (3-5 statements)

Your readers usually want to know why they should do something or accept a change or new idea. An easy way to start out answering this question (both for you and for the reader) is to restate part or all of the summary statement, followed by “because”:

Newman students should be able to participate in events or writing projects that will indicate that they are proficient enough in academic writing to graduate because

Then it is simply a matter of answering the question in 3-5 statements.

Example $$\PageIndex{3}$$:

Newman students should be able to participate in events or writing projects that will indicate that they are proficient enough in academic writing to graduate because there is no test that indicates proficiency – we simply have to see their writing. Also, writing is a way to learn other subjects, so should not be measured until the end of their careers rather than at the beginning or halfway through. They should have choices to meet the proficiency so that they can play to their strengths – writing in their majors – rather than some empty academic exercise.

### Prompt 5 – Procedure statements

What steps must you take to implement your proposal? (3-5 statements)

Your target audience will also want a summary of the steps needed to solve the problem or implement the proposal. The most difficult part of this answer is keeping the steps concrete and attainable.

The following step is not very attainable:

First, the laws need to be changed.

This may be true, but you, the writer, will not be able to change the laws.

A second problem with the example above is that it is written in the passive voice, which usually means that you do not give anyone the responsibility for taking the step. For example, if you say, “The laws need to be changed,” you do not say who needs to do the changing. If you say, “I need to change the laws,” it is now in the active voice. Unfortunately, you still cannot change the laws.

The easiest way to structure a series of procedural statements is to label them as “first,” “second,” or “first,” “then,” or something to that effect. Again, this is a signal to the reader, as well as a framework for you, that identifies this part of the Proposal as a procedure.

Rules of Thumb

• Make each step one that you can physically accomplish yourself.
• Put each of the procedure statements in the active voice.

Example $$\PageIndex{4}$$:

The first step towards implementing proficiency is for the university to create opportunities for students to present writing projects or show what they have done in writing. The next step is for individual faculty to identify what kinds of writing each student should include in these projects/opportunities. Once the faculty does this, students may apply these kinds of writing, as needed, to different projects. Next, the English department must create a course for those who do not participate in these projects. Finally, for those who do not want to take a course or participate in a project, the English department will develop a comprehensive test.

### Prompt 6 – Proposal statement

How can you restate/summarize what you are proposing? (1 statement)

Note

ALL OF THE OTHER SECTIONS OF YOUR PROJECT ARE BASED ON THIS STATEMENT

In other words, all of the writing in your project should be based on the proposal statement. It is the thesis statement of this project.

Example $$\PageIndex{5}$$:

I propose that Newman University help students meet their writing proficiency by offering a number of writing project opportunities, along with a course and an exam, from which they may choose, any one of which may meet the proficiency requirement.

## Mission Statement

A mission statement for a project like this is usually a single statement, though corporations, organizations, departments, and other groups may have more than one statement. Generally, the shorter the mission statement, the better.

Look at your proposal statement and ask yourself what should happen if your proposal is accepted. In other words, what do you hope to achieve as a result of your proposal?

Example $$\PageIndex{6}$$: mission statement

The mission of the writing proficiency requirement is to promote and increase writing proficiency and research among undergraduates and foster collegiality between students and faculty.

## Operating Principle

An operating principle is usually one to three statements that indicate what general principle underlies what you hope to achieve or change. It usually indicates what causes you to want to change things. A principle is a general idea that most people can accept as true and as something upon which you can base your proposed actions. An operating principle explains why anyone would want to do what you are proposing.

Look at your proposal statement and ask yourself the general reason or basis that drives your proposed action.

Example $$\PageIndex{7}$$: Operating Principle

The driving principle behind organizing a writing proficiency requirement is the notion that writing proficiency informs all disciplines, and so all students improve other cognitive skills (like reading, thinking, speaking, listening) through writing.

## Goals/Objectives

Where your mission statement is a general statement that indicates what you hope to achieve, the goals/objectives are a series of specific statements that indicate as concretely as possible what you hope to achieve or what changes you wish to bring about.

List, in bullet form, as many specific outcomes you predict for your proposal (at least three). Note the use of a verb at the beginning of each bullet; note, too, the punctuation.

Example $$\PageIndex{8}$$: Objectives

The proficiency requirement has the following objectives:

• To open a dialogue about writing on campus;
• Help students see the value in writing as a way to learn outside their regular courses;
• Implement a project-based pedagogy for important student writings;
• Allow students more than one way to fulfill proficiency requirement;
• Add no new staff or faculty;
• Make the program self-sufficient (economically);
• Implement a Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing Intensive program without adding people, programs, or required courses;
• Implement without altering the core requirement;
• Implement without imposing objectives, methods of instruction, or methods for assessment upon or within individual courses, majors, programs, or core courses;
• Allow students as much time as possible to meet proficiency;
• Include transfer students.

This page titled 3.4: Proposal Section is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Stephen V. Poulter.