Criteria for a WI Course

The following resolution was passed by the University Senate on December 5, 2002, to approve the criteria for Writing Intensive courses and the process for implementing them.

Writing Intensive courses use writing as a tool for learning and provide ample opportunities to write in the discipline. Review and feedback on writing in progress are the heart of a writing intensive course, because research indicates that students learn more and write better when they revise their work regularly using feedback. These courses are typically enhanced versions of existing courses. Based in the academic departments, Writing Intensive courses focus on writing appropriate to the discipline.


Writing Intensive courses, based on national standards, originate from academic departments and must demonstrate clear evidence of the following:

  1. Writing and revision (including, for example, reports, papers, in-class writing, drafts, sequenced related assignments, journals, or essay exams) represent at least 40% of the course grade.
  2. Ample opportunities for revision and frequent feedback are offered to students on their writing (including, for example, conferences, peer review, written comments or a combination of methods).

The committee strongly recommends that the student/Instructor + Writing Consultant ratio reflect the national standard of no more than 25/1. In courses that are larger than 25 students, the University should provide funding for Writing Consultants to achieve the desired ratio. Writing Consultants are typically graduate students from the department offering the course who are trained by the Writing Across the Curriculum Program.

Approval Process

The Committee on Writing Across the Curriculum will approve all Writing Intensive courses based on these criteria. Departments will design and offer these courses and also determine how to implement, administer and evaluate them. Courses will be assessed and reviewed periodically according to the requirements for Academic Program Review.

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