Writing-Intensive Course Proposals
Guidelines for Writing-Intensive Courses
Definition of a W Course:
W courses follow the guidelines adopted by the faculty in the spring of 1987 and articulated in the language approved by the faculty in the spring of 2005. That language specifies that
A writing-intensive course includes writing as an integral part of teaching and learning, with class time devoted to the discussion of the writing process and assignments designed to reinforce and develop writing skills. Students in these classes are encouraged to generate preliminary writing (e.g. brainstorming, outlines, early drafts) and are given direction and/or feedback in the process of developing assignments. Students complete a minimum of 4,000 words in final draft form. This word count serves as a general indicator of the importance of writing in the course and must be balanced by the other qualitative criteria of writing intensive classes.
In brief, writing tasks should be integrated into the course with the intent of helping students improve compositional and critical thinking skills. While ample opportunities to practice writing are certainly a factor in improving these abilities, the key element in a strong writing course is not the number of words demanded but the way the instructor uses the writing assignments to develop and reinforce skills. Logically sequenced assignments, an emphasis on the writing process, and opportunities to revise drafts typically serve these goals well.
In order to compensate for the time instructors devote to writing instruction and assessment in these courses, enrollment for all sections with a W designation is capped at 25 students.
The deadline for W course proposals is usually the last Monday of September for Spring courses and the last Monday of February for Fall courses.
Once the Writing and Speaking Committee has evaluated the proposals, we will notify you regarding any decisions, recommendations, and/or further questions. We will also forward to the Registrar a list of courses to be designated with a W in the course schedule for fall semester. Note that your chairperson should not designate any course with a W that has not received approval in prior semesters. The Registrar will add this designation upon receiving approval from the Writing and Speaking Committee.
Please be sure to submit your proposal on or before the deadline as changes in writing-intensive designation cannot be made after students register for the course. Those teaching newly approved writing-intensive courses should also check with their chairperson to verify that the W designation does appear on the open course listing preview.
If you are repeating a course already approved by the Writing Committee, you do not need to submit a proposal again unless there are substantial changes in the kinds of writing required and the type of instruction used. If you are not sure which courses have been approved, check with your department chair or with Mike Mattison.
If you have any questions about W courses, or if you would like Writing Center support for your course, please feel free to contact Mike Mattison at 327-6177 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.