FROM: Pat C. Covey
Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
COPY: Academic Deans
SUBJECT: Proposed Revision of the Criteria for "W" Courses
Please find the attached Proposed Revised Criteria for a "W" Course, along with the current policy for your review. These proposed revisions were recommended by the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Committee and revised by the Deans.
I am asking that you review these with your faculty and forward recommendations, if any, to your Dean.
Thank you very much.
Proposed Revision of the Criteria for a Writing-Intensive (W) Course
1. Writing-Intensive courses (designated as "W" courses) must be taught by an instructor who has been certified through the Writing Across the Curriculum Program. To achieve certification as a "W" course instructor, faculty members should attend a WAC seminar or a departmental session conducted by the WAC director.
2. English 102 (or placement) is prerequisite for all "W" courses.
3. The "W" course will be a 300 or 400 level course typically taken by majors. Students must take at least one writing credit course in their major or minor.
4. The rationale and writing expectations (including the relative weighting of assignments), as well as prerequisites, should be stated on the syllabus, along with some information concerning length of assignments and opportunities for revision. Writing skills appropriate to the discipline should be taught by each instructor, not simply expected.
5. Several assignments (generally three or more, excluding essay examinations) should be required. These assignments are to provide the student with opportunities for revision, critical thinking, and reading, as well as critical writing within a content area.
6. Writing must be an integral part of the course and grade, and all writing assignments must be satisfactorily completed in order to receive credit for the course. The writing in a "W" course should reinforce the mastery of content, as well as demonstrate the integration of reading, writing, and critical thinking.
7. At least one assignment should require library/electronic research.
8. Ideally, a "W" course should have reduced enrollment compared to similar courses.
9. Students who need help with writing should be referred to the University
CRITERIA FOR A WRITING CREDIT (W) COURSE
1. It should be a 300 or 400 level course typically taken by majors. Students must take at least one writing credit course in their major or minor. (200 level courses required for the major could also be considered, but advanced courses would be more appropriate.)
2. Writing must be an integral part of the course and the grade. Students must satisfactorily complete all writing assignments in order to pass. The rationale and writing expectations for the course, including the EH 101 and EH 102 prerequisites, should be stated on the syllabus.
3. Several short writing assignments rather than one long one should be required. A sequence of 4-6 assignments read by the teacher, returned to the students, and possibly revised, helps students develop the thinking/writing skills necessary for the content area.
4. Students who need help with matters, other than content, such as grammar, usage, or mechanics should be referred to the University Writing Center. Not giving a grade for a particular writing assignment until it has been revised in the Center can be a very effective way to get students to take advantage of this teaching resource.
5. Enrollment in the course should preferably be limited to 25-30.
Note: These criteria have been approved by the Council of Deans and are used by the Writing Committee in its considerations of applications for writing credit. If you have any questions, please call Sylvia Spann at 460-7155.