W Courses

Undergraduate students at Southern Connecticut State University must fulfill a writing requirement for graduation. Currently, this requirement includes:

  • successful completion of ENG 112, ENG 120, HON 150, or Tier 1 Written Communication competency
  • Three “W” courses

These “W” courses are writing-intensive courses across the disciplines. Students may take the W courses in any discipline or department they wish, assuming they have any other prerequisites for the course.

Pilot W Course Program

Starting in Fall 2019, the W program will adhere to a pilot program, with the following parameters.

W-courses are taught by either full-time or part-time faculty. Department chairs are responsible for assigning W-courses to their faculty. Although, faculty should be cognizant of whether they feel comfortable in teaching a W course.

W-courses should meet the following requirements:

  • A significant portion of the course should be dedicated to teaching writing skills (either general, or those skills specific to the discipline);
  • Faculty will explicitly teach those skills, rather than hope students will gain them through practice;
  • At least one assignment will require revision (even if the student already writes well -- if Steven King has to go through 15 drafts before he sends it to his editor, a student can do at least one revision);
  • Written assignments will constitute at least 50 percent of the student’s grade in the course;
  • Faculty agree to submit their writing goals for the class at the beginning of the semester, and the results of ONE assessment of one of the goals, at the end of the semester.

To check to see if your course is approved as a W course (only taught by you), see the UCF tracker.

To check to see if your course is approved under the new pilot program, see the UCF Tracker. Courses approved as pilots will be noted as such.

Any new course, or new faculty teaching a W course starting in Fall 2019 should submit a Pilot Program W-course proposal.

Guidelines for submitting a Pilot Program W-Course Proposal.

Questions on submitting a W-Course proposal under the pilot should be addressed to either the Writing Program Director: Marie McDaniel, at mcdanielm4 at southernct dot edu or the chair of the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee: Robert Smith, at smithjrr1 at southernct dot edu

Sample of a W-course approved under the pilot program

To submit your Writing Goals for your already approved W-Course (in September or January): Writing Course Goals - PROJ SSRV Writing Center

To submit your Assessment of ONE of your writing goals for your already approved W-course (in December or May): W Course Assessment - PROJ SSRV Writing Center

Suggested Writing Goals by course level (200, 300, 400)

If a faculty is assigned a W course that is not approved under the pilot or as an L, they should apply for a one-time approval (exigency) to teach the course as a W while they put together a W course proposal form. To apply for an exigency, faculty should send a copy of their syllabus that meets the requirements of W courses to the chair of WACC (Loida Reyes) and the Director of the Writing Center (Marie McDaniel).

Previous W-Course Programs

The W-Course Program has undergone several transitions since the 1990s to ensure students receive pedagogically-sound training in writing, and the program meets the realistic needs of the academy in the 21st century. The most recent changes included the following:

Removing a requirement that students write at least 5000 words in favor of requiring an explicit teaching of writing skills;
o    This recognizes that while writing a lot will help facilitate improved writing skills, most students will not able to write nearly enough in their four years to noticeably improve their writing, unless given explicit instruction.

Removing the requirement that each faculty had to be approved for each course separately, in favor of only requiring each course to be approved;
o    This allows adjuncts to teach W-courses, and recognizes that many W-courses taught by different professors have the same writing requirements and pedagogy.

Requiring that W-courses submit their writing goals and assessment of one of their goals, so that the program as a whole can be assessed for outcomes, rather than just aspirations.

To view the previous W-Course proposal form or guidelines, please email: mcdanielm4 at southernct dot edu