Writing Intensive (WI) Courses
Arizona Western College believes writing provides a unique opportunity to learn disciplinary content while mastering writing skills. Writing in the Disciplines (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 that are essential to each discipline. Writing in the Disciplines courses help develop students’ identities as 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.
Interested in making your course Writing Intensive?
Writing in the Disciplines Requirement at AWC
Students are required to complete two WI courses to graduate with an associate’s degree or transfer degree.
AWC Writing in the Disciplines Goal
Students will understand the conventions and demonstrate competency of discipline-essential writing in their respective disciplines, including both formal and informal modes of written discourse.
Writing in the Disciplines Course Outcomes
Upon satisfactory completion of AWC’s WI component, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate critical inquiry through the gathering, interpretation, and evaluation of evidence in writing.
- Develop flexible strategies for generating ideas, revising, editing, and proofreading, using instructor and peer feedback on written discourse to guide improvement through revision.
- Effectively compose discipline-specific writing, which includes overall organization, analysis, grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and style.
- Develop strategies for composing both in class and out of class compositions.
- Demonstrate through written discourse a sequence of increasing complexity/skill in knowledge of content as well as discipline specific discourse form.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC) at AWC assumes that all undergraduate students will develop the discipline-specific writing and critical inquiry skills essential to clearly reason and communicate through the medium of language. Arizona Western College believes writing provides a unique opportunity to learn disciplinary content while mastering writing skills. Writing in the Disciplines courses directly address these central institutional and cultural values.
Writing in the Disciplines courses at Arizona Western College integrate writing assignments in ways that help students learn both the subject matter and discipline-specific ways of thinking and writing. The WI courses help develop students’ identities as 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.
Every AWC student completing an AGEC certification or transfer degree will complete at least two (2) courses from an approved list of Writing in the Disciplines (WI) courses. This reflects the statewide requirement that the general education curriculum will include such coursework.
Arizona Western College requires that students complete ENG 101 with a grade of C or better prior to enrolling in a WI course. This requirement is designed to ensure that students have the basic academic writing skills necessary to meet the demands of a WI course.
Arizona Western College requires that each faculty member teaching a WI course, and each Associate Dean/Dean supervising those faculty, participate in WI certification prior to teaching a WI course and then continued training in each subsequent year that s/he is scheduled to teach WI. Training sessions will be offered by qualified faculty and co-sponsored by the CTE. This training is designed to provide WI faculty with the skills necessary to successfully design, review, and assess writing assignments in their courses.
In contrast to non-WI courses where writing may be assigned as a means of retaining content or demonstrating content knowledge, WI courses teach both content and academic writing conventions. In WI courses, writing is added to the content. Additionally, WI courses are capped at 20 students per section, allowing faculty the additional focus on the writing process in their discipline. There also are several essential ways in which writing is built into the course, which need to be reflected in the newly revised syllabus. That is, at least 1/3 of the students’ course grade will be based on a body of formal writing (at least 3000 words or about 12 pages), which is subject to detailed comments by the instructor.
Courses that lend themselves best to WI are the more advanced seminar-style or discussion-oriented courses, as opposed to introductory, lecture-oriented ones. Course activities that make good WI assignments are, for example, arguing a position, analyzing an issue, and gathering, interpreting, and evaluating evidence.
- Formal and informal writing, both in class and out, to increase students' understanding of course material as well as to improve writing skills;
- Significant amounts of writing as part of the overall course grade;
- Opportunities for students to draft, revise, and receive feedback prior to final submission of written work; Written analysis and interpretation of evidence;
- Opportunities for meaningful interaction between students and professor.
General Education courses should be considered for Writing in the Disciplines based on their inherent appropriateness for developing the students’ competency in written expression within the discipline. Some courses that do have an extensive writing requirement might not be ideal for WI, such as courses in which the writing is mainly informal or in which it is impractical to exclude students who have not completed ENG 101.
- Go to ACRES and view the WI Course application.
- Obtain departmental approval for your course to become WI (note the date/vote of department approval on the checklist).
- Complete the WI Course application through ACRES and submit the requisite materials.
You will receive an email from the Writing Curriculum Committee/ACRES stating the status of your proposed course.
Once approved by the Writing Curriculum Committee, your WI Course application and requisite materials will be sent to the Curriculum Committee for final approval.
If changes to your course proposal need to be made, the Writing Curriculum Committee will contact you via ACRES or email and alert you to any revisions required for approval.
Prior to your first semester teaching your approved Writing in the Disciplines course, you will participate in professional development training in teaching WI courses, with additional annual training each subsequent year. This training is designed to provide skills and strategies for developing writing pedagogy, designing effective writing assignments and assessment rubrics, and developing strategies for evaluating written work in a time-efficient way. There will be several opportunities and modes of delivery for this mandatory training.
Members of the Writing Curriculum Committee are available each semester to support Writing in the Disciplines courses as needed, including reviewing assignments and assessments, developing effective feedback procedures, and implementing strategies for the teaching of writing in the disciplines.