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The University Senate defines a “writing intensive” course as one that has content as its primary focus but that also reinforces writing skills by using writing in a substantial way to enhance learning. Writing intensive courses are not created by merely tacking on more writing assignments. Writing is not an “extra;” rather, it becomes an integral part of the learning process. Writing is not added to content; it is a way of improving students’ understanding of content.
The W-designation may be applied to a course or section only when authorized by the Liberal Studies Committee (LSC); attaching a /W/ indicates that the course or section is “writing-intensive” and meets the criteria established by the University Senate. All LSC actions either authorizing or denying authorization for a W-designation will be sent to the UWUCC for action and lastly to the Senate for approval.
In most cases, a proposal for a W-designation course involves a change in how the instructor will use writing to achieve course goals; it does not involve a change of the goals, objectives or content of the course. For this reason, the change that occurs in the course is not considered a course revision. This designation will then be sent to the UWUCC and the Senate for approval as a W course.
Step 1. Read the Senate-approved criteria for writing-intensive courses. Consider attending a writing workshop designed to help faculty develop writing-intensive proposals or talk with a colleague who has attended. Read the introduction and look at the sample proposals available from the Liberal Studies Office.
Step 2. Complete the application form, get the necessary signatures, and send one (1) copy of the form and its attachments to the LSC.
You have a great deal of flexibility. Because the LSC knows that departments face different situations, it will authorize the use of a W-designation in any of three ways:
The LSC will make every effort to act promptly on applications. Assuming that the application contains no insufficiencies, a submission by November 1 will receive action in time for inclusion on the next summer or fall schedules; a submission by April 1 will receive action in time for inclusion on the next spring schedule.
The department chairperson assigns the W designation to the section number when preparing the Final Class Schedule. The director of Liberal Studies will provide in a timely fashion a list of writing-intensive authorizations so that chairpersons can do this with assurance. As in the case of all scheduling decisions, it is assumed that the chairperson will have consulted appropriately with faculty and deans and considered the programmatic needs of students served by the department.
In the case of a professor commitment, the chairperson may apply a /W/ to any course or section of a course any time this professor is the instructor (assuming, of course, that the professor agrees to teach this course in a writing-intensive manner). In the case of a departmental course, the /W/ may be applied any time that the department can fulfill its promise to insure the course is writing-intensive. In the case of a professor/individual course authorization, the chairperson may apply a /W/ only when the specific professor(s) and specific course are paired on the class schedule.
The chairperson has a good deal of flexibility: The /W/ may be applied to some sections of a course without applying it to all. The /W/ may be applied to a course or section for some semesters without incurring an obligation to apply it every time the course is taught.
Because there is flexibility, however, chairpersons have a responsibility, when scheduling a /W/ course or section, to communicate with involved faculty to be sure that they are willing and intending to teach in a writing-intensive manner on this occasion.
In addition to the Liberal Studies proposal requirements, new or revised writing across the curriculum course proposals must include:
Checklist for Writing-Intensive Proposals
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