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Guidelines for Writing-Intensive Courses

(and the minimum requirements for meeting them)

1. The course must instruct students in the kinds of writing that are practiced by and valued by members of the field.

Minimum Requirement: The course syllabus should state or describe the kinds of written genres that students will be working on in the course (research papers, client visit reports, lesson plans, press releases, etc.) If the written genres are not obviously related to the discipline, the syllabus and/or assignments should explain why these genres are important for students in this discipline/profession to learn.

2. The course syllabus must state clear writing-related goals.

Minimum Requirement: The course syllabus should include at least one statement explaining what students can expect to learn about writing in the course. The statement should be specific enough that a student could conceivably meet the goal in the course of the semester. There should be a logical connection between the writing-related goals and the writing assignments and activities that students will be completing in the course.

3. The course must require students to engage in substantial revision of their writing based on feedback from the instructor.

Minimum requirement: At least once during the course, all students must engage in an iterative writing process, in which they write a draft of something, get feedback on it, and then revise the draft based on the feedback. All three parts of this process (write, get feedback, revise) must be required for all students; revision cannot be optional, nor can it be reserved only for students whose first drafts are judged to be weak.

4. Writing assignments must count significantly toward the students’ final grade in the course.

Minimum requirement: Writing assignments that include required revision must comprise at least 40% of the students’ final grade for the course. If separate points/grades are given to different parts of an assignment, all of the “pieces” count toward the 40% total. For example, an assignment that required a proposal (10%), a first draft (10%), an in-class presentation (5%), and a revised final paper (15%), would meet the 40% guideline. Note that assignments for which revisions are optional (ie. not required for all students) do not count toward the 40%.

5. The course must promote students’ development of information literacy skills.

Minimum requirements: Students must be required to search for at least one relevant outside source during the semester. (In other words, not all of the readings/outside sources should be determined in advance by the instructor.) Additionally, students should receive some instruction related to finding, evaluating, or using sources. The instruction could come in the form of in-class activities, like a librarian-led workshop or an instructor-led discussion; or it could come in the form of individualized feedback about how students used sources in their papers.

6. The ratio of students-to-instructors must not be greater than 20:1.

Minimum Requirement: The syllabus should identify all of the people (instructors of record, TAs, others) who will be providing instruction in the course.

7. The instructor must be knowledgeable about writing in the discipline and/or profession.

Minimum requirement: In general, the WICC accepts departmental decisions about which instructors are knowledgeable about writing in the discipline or profession; instructors do not need to provide their credentials on their syllabus or to the WICC. Departments may appoint faculty of any rank (tenured and tenure-line faculty; full-time non-tenure-line faculty; adjunct faculty; and teaching assistants) to teach writing-intensive courses.