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Criteria for a "W" Course
Approved by the Council of Deans on 4/21/99.
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- 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.
- English 101 and 102 (or placement) is prerequisite for all "W" courses.
- 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.
- 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.
- Several assignments (generally 3 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.
- 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. There should be no difference in content between a "W" course and a regular section of the same course since improved understanding of the course material is a primary concern. That is, the writing in a "W" course should reinforce the mastery of content, as well as demonstrate the integration of reading, writing, and critical thinking.
- At least one assignment should require library/electronic research.
- Ideally, a "W" course should have reduced enrollment compared to similar courses.
- Students who need help with writing should be referred to the University Writing Center.