Submitting a WI course

Writing-Intensive Course Criteria

Fundamental to the Writing-Intensive Course Program is the premise that writing constitutes an important mode of learning—not just a means of testing learning—in all disciplines. Writing is an activity that empowers the learner and that leads the learner to develop and augment critical thinking processes intrinsic to academic inquiry. Writing also is a means of creating and exploring knowledge in an academic field as well as a way of understanding the language and methodology of a discipline. For all these reasons, it is crucial that students write during every stage of their college careers.
The guidelines for writing-intensive courses include the following:

  • They will reflect a philosophy compatible with that outlined in the Writing Board’s Goals Statement.
  • They will require substantial and ongoing writing experiences in forms appropriate to the discipline and to the course. The Writing Board recommends a balance of in-class and out-of-class writing and of informal and formal writing activities. Examples of informal and formal writing assignments include brainstorming, free writing, journals, reaction-response essays, critiques, reviews, laboratory notebooks and reports, case studies, observations, essays, proposals, and research papers.
  • They will involve students in the composing process (prewriting, shaping, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading) and allow for substantive revision of work.
  • They will provide opportunities for response to work and support the development of writing abilities through peer review, conferences with instructors, and/or tutorial assistance.
  • They will stress elements of effectively written English and other languages (purpose, organization, development, grammar, sentence sense, style) and emphasize clear, cogent communication which is directed to an appropriate audience.
  • They will be regularly scheduled courses. Special topics; independent or honors studies; senior projects or theses are not eligible for writing intensive credit.

Pedagogical Considerations of Writing Intensive Courses

  1. Writing is an ongoing activity throughout the course.
  2. The course stresses the process of gaining knowledge as well as content.
  3. Students need opportunities to work on stages and/or drafts of assignments, receive comments from their instructors and/or peers, and revise their work.
  4. A variety of writing experiences may be employed;
brainstorming reaction-response writing letters
free writing in class writing (including exams) essays
case studies laboratory reports reviews
journal writing research proposal
laboratory notebooks research reports

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Submitting a Course for WI Designation

  • Faculty members should consult with their department chair when deciding which course(s) should be considered as writing-intensive. Writing-intensive courses are limited to 20 students and must be designated writing-intensive for all sections of the course.
  • It is recommended that the faculty member proposing a WI course attend at least one Writing Board workshop, retreat or event.
  • Faculty members will prepare a packet of material for each course consisting of:
    A. Course Information
    Include all of the following items:

    1. Instructor. Note that the course designation of WI is NOT specific to the faculty member submitting the course for such a designation.
    2. Course Title and Number
    3. Department
    4. School or Division
    5. Catalogue Description
    6. Writing Requirements. Summarize/ list the number and types of writing assignments to be assigned (graded and ungraded)

    B. Narrative (1 page or less).  Include a description of how the course fits the criteria of a writing intensive course.  The applicant is expected to explain the various ways in which writing will be used as a mode of learning.   See Pedagogical Considerations (above).

    C. Syllabus. Should clearly reflect the commitment to writing along with the opportunities to work on stages and/or drafts of assignments, receive comments from their instructors and/or peers, and revise their work.

    All syllabi for writing-intensive courses must include the following SLOs to indicate the Writing Intensive Common Student Learning Experiences:
    Students will
    1. Write in a variety of discipline-specific forms, formal and informal, for multiple purposes
    2. Practice the process of developing ideas, drafting, revising, editing, and reflecting on their own writing
    3. Compose multiple texts to garner new knowledge and critically think through ideas

  • A single pdf document containing all of the above information is preferable if submitting electronically. Hard copies may also be submitted.

The documents are submitted to the department chair, who will write a memo or email to the chair of the Writing Board to request consideration. The department chair will pass the documents to the Writing Board Chair. The Chair should indicate knowledge of the fact that WI courses are limited to 20 students and must be designated writing-intensive for all sections of the course.The Writing Board will review the material and either a) recommend the course to the Curriculum Committee for final approval; b) invite the faculty member to clarify issues prior to recommendation; or c) suggest modifications and ask for the course to be resubmitted. A copy will be kept on file. Following approval by the Curriculum Committee, the Provost must approve the course, which will then be designated a writing-intensive course. If a faculty member decides to modify an existing writing-intensive course, s/he must resubmit the course.

Example proposals (please note that these were submitted prior to the SLOs requirement): ArtHistory456syllabus, ArtHistory456narrative, PolSci401Nar&Syl, Biology350Nar&Syl, Geography301syllabus, Geogrphy301 narrative

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