As I learned more about the world of composition studies I came to the conclusion that unless writing courses focus exclusively on writing they are a sham, and I advised administrators to insist that all courses listed as courses in composition teach grammar and rhetoric and nothing else. This advice was contemptuously dismissed by the composition establishment, and I was accused of being a reactionary who knew nothing about current trends in research. Now I have received (indirect) support from a source that makes me slightly uncomfortable... (source)
At Hampden-Syndney, on the other hand, everyone must prove proficiency in Rhetoric in order to graduate, irregardless of Major. "Proficiency" had two parts: passing a test of pure grammar knowledge and then passing a creative-writing essay test. In other words, you had to be able to prove that you know the rules of grammar and then creatively apply those rules in a cohesive essay. Neither of these tests are easy, the majority of students fail the first (Freshman-year) attempt. Luckily we all have four years to learn and try again. Students that struggle get extra help.
The result is that all Hampden-Sydney graduates (even those majoring in "hard" sciences) have excellent writing skills. At the very least they know what a comma splice looks like! This sensibility seems to pervade the academic culture across disciplines at Hampden-Syndney: you were expected to write well (and correctly) in all your course work.
When I was a Teaching Assistant at Yale for an undergraduate course I was shocked at how poor writing is tolerated. All kinds of mistakes would be passed back to the students without a jot of red ink. I made it a point of principle to take to time to at least note the mistakes. How else will they learn? Many of my colleagues at the graduate level discovered they had a lot to learn about how to write, as well.
So Stanley Fish's argument that basic composition courses should focus on basic composition rings true to my experience. I am thankful that my Liberal Arts education put so much emphasis on something as foundational as writing!