Requirements for Writing Intensive Courses

1. Students take at least three writing-enriched courses (designated W) beyond the required two courses in freshman composition and two in 200-level English; at least one must be in the major. A writing-enriched (W) course will meet these minimum requirements:

a) 25% of the grade will come from writing assignments;
b) instructors will advise students in the process of completing their writing assignment;
c) instructors will require a minimum of 12 polished, revised pages to be graded for their quality of writing, quality to be assessed by degree of clarity, completeness, and precision (references, graphics, etc. are to be included in the page count);
d) both content and form will be evaluated for a grade.

2. Courses designated (W) will be given that designation by the Division Chair. Departments will submit courses for which they desire this designation.

3. Courses with a (W) designation will ideally have limited enrollment (21 / 25).

4. Advisers will strongly recommend that students take at least one writing- enriched course each year. The two required 200-level literature courses will be designated writing –enriched.

5. Syllabi for W courses must mention the percentage of the grade that comes from writing assignments, as well as the minimum number of pages of formal writing that the course will require.

Additional Suggestions:

One important goal of Writing Across the Curriculum programs is to provide students with continual practice and feedback on their writing. W courses can facilitate this ongoing growth in a variety of ways, such as by requiring several writing assignments throughout the term or by breaking a large research paper into different stages (proposal, annotated bibliography, rough draft, etc.) so that students receive instructor feedback at each point. Individual conferences, peer editing sessions, and commenting on rough drafts before the final due date also support the goals of W courses. While the W requirement refers to formal, polished writing, some instructors also use brief informal writing in class (in addition to the minimum 12 pages) as a way to help students retain key points from the reading or lecture, explore ideas, or brainstorm before discussion. The main idea is to make writing an integral part of the course as a whole.

Another important goal of WAC programs is for the faculty to teach students the foundational methods for good writing in the different disciplines. What is appropriate writing for an English literature essay, for example, may not be considered as effective in a sociology report. Issues of format, sentence style, and the use and citation of evidence often vary across the disciplines and pose special challenges for writers. Including writing instruction alongside models of good student writing in your field provides students with the tools they need to write successfully for different audiences and purposes.

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