Writing Intensive Courses

In addition to writing-specific courses, students take a minimum of four writing-intensive courses — three in Hallmarks and at least one in their major — throughout the university years. Writing-intensive courses help students deepen their understanding of the content of the courses in Hallmarks and the major. Writing enables students to rehearse, question and clarify issues in both informal and formal ways. In the process of writing and revising drafts, students learn the importance of clearly presenting their ideas. Writing-intensive courses in Hallmarks are taken in the junior and senior years.

Writing-intensive (WI) courses are integrated throughout a student’s undergraduate coursework.  Four successfully completed WI courses are required for graduation: three in the Hallmarks general education core curriculum and one in a student’s major.  WI courses should be designed and taught to advance critical thinking and written communication skills through informal and/or formal writing assignments and through close attention to corresponding academic support for students.  WI courses, designated as such in the Undergraduate Catalog, must meet the WI requirements agreed upon by the school offering the course and the Director of Writing Across the Curriculum.  Faculty can receive assistance in designing and integrating the writing components of their WI courses.  A range of faculty development opportunities exist.  

Faculty should consider these questions when developing/teaching WI courses:

  • What specific course learning outcomes are connected to the writing assignments?
  • What forms of field-specific writing will students practice?  By extension, will you show and discuss with your students specific examples of such field-specific writing?
  • How much class time will you devote to discussing essential qualities of—and strategies for effectively completing—the writing assignments in the course?
  • Will you require students to submit multiple drafts of at least one writing assignment?
  • Will you encourage or require students to receive help from the professional writing tutors in the Learning & Advising Center?
  • What significant percentage of the final grade will be based on written work?  Many WI faculty assign 30-40%, as a means of ensuring that students value the time and attention given to writing in their WI courses. 

Resources for Students in WI Courses

Academic Success Center (in Haggar Hall): 215.951.2799. Professional writing tutors can give assistance in all forms of writing assigned in a WI course.  This includes everything from helping students generate ideas for a research paper to giving feedback on writing intended for design exhibits or poster presentations. Specialized help is also available for problems with grammar and punctuation. Faculty can require students to make appointments for writing tutoring. Tutors send a Feedback to Faculty form after each session.