Requesting a W1, W2, or W3 designation for your course

There are 4 steps to having your course approved as writing-intensive with a W designation in the catalogue.

Step 1. Review the W1 Common Understandings OR the W2/W3 Common Understandings.
Write a short memo to the Writing Committee that is numbered to match the Common Understandings. This memo should explain, with brief examples, how your course will address each of the Common Understandings.

Step 2. Gather your syllabus and assignment descriptions for major writing assignments (for an existing course) OR a working course outline (for a new course).

Between your memo and these supporting materials, please make sure the following is included:

  • Concrete writing- and research-related learning goals on the syllabus (i.e., more specific than “significant research is required” or “students will write frequently”)
  • Definition of the major writing assignments and how much they’ll contribute to course grade
  • Explanation of how writing assignments will (or could) be ordered as steps to a larger project or staged to build on each other across the semester (“scaffolding”)
  • Plan for direct writing instruction (in class) during the semester. (e.g., mini writing lessons, workshops, in-class analysis of student writing, discussions/lectures on specific writing topics.)

Step 3. Send the memo and syllabus or outline to Stacey Sheriff ([email protected]), Chair of the Writing Committee. (Example proposals are available upon request.) The Committee will review your materials and follow-up with any clarifying questions.

After your W designation is approved, please complete Step 4. for the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC):

Step 4. Complete a new online course proposal** OR a revision proposal to add a W designation (and, perhaps, to reflect other changes).

**N.B. Near the bottom of this form, there is a “Rationale for Writing Designation” button that notes “a separate application must be approved by the College Writing Department Steering Committee” for a W designation. Completing steps 1-3, above, constitutes that approval. In the associated open-text box, AAC requests faculty write a short but specific explanation of how this course will be writing-intensive, referencing the relevant Common Understandings. Feel free to cut and paste from your memo to the writing committee.