Certain courses can be designated "W" as part of the College's Writing Across the Curriculum program. The most recent disciplinary outline for disciplinary course authors who wish to have their courses so designated should be available in each dean’s office.
Writing Across the Curriculum courses are currently not reviewed by the College Senate Curriculum Committee. Thus, it is inappropriate to include the "W" on course revisions or new course proposals. Departments who wish a course section or multiple course sections to be designated as Writing Across the Curriculum should send a memo to the dean explaining why a particular course should receive a "W" designation following the outline for creating WAC courses.
After receiving approval from the dean, the memo should be forwarded to the associate vice president for assessment in Academic Affairs for approval.
What should a "W" course include?
Like most courses offered on this campus, these include both formal and informal writing. Writing Across the Curriculum courses, however, emphasize writing as a major course component for both instruction and evaluation.
What is the difference between courses that simply have written assignments and Writing Across the Curriculum courses?
"W" courses are not "term paper" centered. Writing Across the Curriculum courses are those in which professors employ writing-to-learn techniques as a major means of delivering instruction. Such courses include teaching students to use writing as a tool in their overall learning process. Students can bolster their general academic abilities greatly by taking these courses.
What are the guidelines for constructing a Writing Across the Curriculum course?
A Writing Across the Curriculum course includes several assignments using formal writing. Formal writing in this context means writing that is intended to communicate with a reader; has been revised; and meets standards for minimum proficiency.
The formal writing requirement should be substantial enough to insure that the “W” course functions effectively as part of a total writing program.
What is the faculty member’s responsibility with regard to the teaching of writing skills?
Writing Across the Curriculum course instructors are not responsible for the actual teaching of basic writing skills. Instead, they can refuse to accept papers which are poorly written, requiring students to seek help in the Academic Skills Center or the Writing Help Center and then allowing students to revise and resubmit their work. These instructors ARE responsible for teaching students the rhetorical forms and nuances of their specific discipline.
What resources do faculty have to assist their students to improve their writing skills and strategies?
The college provides assistance to writing across the curriculum course instructors and students. The Academic Skills Center can accommodate “W” course students needing one-to-one or small group tutoring in writing. For those students who seem unable to produce written assignments that meet minimum standards, the Academic Skills Center or the Writing Help Center are excellent resources. Personnel in these centers are able to help students, not only with basic skills problems, but with conceiving, developing, and organizing papers.
Several departments have expressed the wish to develop department-based options such as a portfolio review for satisfying the college’s Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.
Two departments are currently using a portfolio requirement rather than a Writing Across the Curriculum requirement. Departments electing this option would present a proposal to the associate vice president for assessment's office. That office will then request a review by the college’s Writing Oversight Committee.
This process would help refine the expectations of each discipline and would allow departments to establish a writing requirement in conjunction with the Writing Oversight Committee.
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