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Writing Intensive Course Guidelines

What are Writing Intensive Courses?

Download Writing Course Guidelines

Arizona Western College believes writing provides students a unique opportunity to learn disciplinary content while mastering writing skills. Writing Intensive (WI) courses at Arizona Western College integrate writing assignments in ways that help students learn both the subject matter of the courses and discipline-specific ways of thinking and writing. Writing Intensive courses help develop students’ identities as good writers by linking their writing proficiency with their desire to know more about the field of study, to engage in questions in the discipline, and to become a participant in academic discourse.

The prerequisite for courses meeting the Writing Intensive/Critical Inquiry component is ENG 101 completion with a C or better. Writing Intensive/Critical Inquiry courses are identified by a WI following the course title. WI courses are capped at a maximum of 20 students. AWC students complete 2 WI courses in order to fulfill AGEC requirements.

What are the Essential Elements of an AWC Writing Intensive Course?

  • The course uses writing to promote the learning of course material.

The writing in the course must be tied to the course objectives and course outcomes. The syllabus must reflect the critical role that writing plays in the course. Writing assignments in a WI course may be designed as a means to achieving mastery of course content, as a means to enable students to develop professional output, or as a balance between the two.

  • Writing is learned through revision.

Instructors provide intentional and focused feedback on writing assignments, and allow revision in response to that feedback. Continuous, focused feedback building systematically over the course of the class is encouraged.

  • Written assignments constitute a significant portion of each student’s course grade.

Writing is a major component of the final course grade, with this relationship detailed and explained in the syllabus.

  • The course requires students to do a substantial amount of writing– a minimum of 3000 words, or about 12 pages.

Students write at least 3000 words or the equivalent of finished writing, in genres and modes of production appropriate for the course and discipline. The written work is distributed over a variety of assignments, to include at least one paper of at least 3 pages, throughout the semester rather than concentrated at the end. Group-authored documents may be included, but each student must meet the minimum word/page requirement.

How Do I Designate My Course as Writing Intensive?

If you believe your course is appropriate for the Writing Intensive designation, you can complete the Writing Intensive Course Checklist in ACRES and submit the course for review and approval. Note: Departmental vote is required prior to submitting a course for final approval by the Curriculum Committee.

How do Writing Intensive Faculty prepare for WI courses?

Each new faculty member identified as a potential WI instructor by their respectiveDivision Chairis:

1) partnered with a Writing Fellow who guides and supports the WI instructor throughout the semester on an as-needed basis. Writing Fellows are full-time and adjunct faculty who have participated in WI professional development and have agreed to serve as a resource.Below isa list and contact informationfor the2014/2015 Writing Fellows.

Faculty Writing Fellow Email Office Phone
Anne-Marie Thweatt 314-7741
Christina Hawkey 344-1723
Ed Schubert 317-7604
Ellen Riek 344-7549
Hollie Villanueva 317-6480
Melissa Behunin 344-7556
Michael Miller 344-7795

Writing Fellows

  • offer support and feedback on assignments, grading and other writing-related pedagogical issues,

  • provide guidance for writing-intensive classroom activities led by the faculty member,

  • consult with faculty members, at faculty request, about questions regarding writing competencies, assignments, sequencing, use of Blackboard for writing-pedagogy aims, etc.

  • are available by request to consult on grading issues, including what to mark, focusing feedback, designing grading rubrics, etc., and

  • facilitate coordination between WI faculty and Writing Center support, as necessary.

2) encouraged to attend specific professional development opportunities offered through the CTE each semester, by a variety of faculty, on a variety of topics (i.e. assignment & rubric design), and in a variety of formats (workshop, Q & A sessions, calibration sessions).

Additionally, each Spring the Writing Center will partner with the CTE to host the Spring Writing Institute, a day professional development opportunity open to all AWC faculty & staff, and facilitated by an outside expert in the field. And....

3) enrolled in a Writing Resources Blackboard shell that has WI supporting materials including Writing Intensive course guidelines, Spring Writing Institute handouts, a 20-minute Faculty Focus video & supplementals on giving effective feedback, etc.

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