The Writing Enriched committee has developed recommendations, detailed below, to help guide departmental conversations regarding how writing is taught and by whom within their WE courses. The committee has deemed these suggestions as "Recommendations" because we understand the importance of flexibility--every department will need to determine their best approach to teaching writing. Remember: the entire purpose of the Writing Enriched initiative is for faculty to teach disciplinary writing practices, conventions, and genres.

Faculty need to intervene in students' writing processes by providing in-class instruction, guiding feedback on plans and drafts, and engaging in one-to-one conversations with students about writing. Every department needs to develop a plan for their WE courses to ensure that disciplinary faculty assigned to the courses are able to explicitly and actively teach writing.

Certifying WE Courses

Core Courses or Electives

The WE Committee strongly recommends that you choose to certify two core courses as Writing Enriched to ensure as few problems as possible for students. However, the Committee recognizes that some core courses might be the best fit to meet the WE Requirements and other Recommendations. Therefore, departments can choose to certify elective courses but will also have to ensure there will not be additional barriers for students to graduate with two WE courses within their major. How departments choose to make this work is their choice, but the WE course application asks for a brief explanation of this plan.

Number of Courses Certified as Writing Enriched

The Writing Enriched initiative requires that every bachelor degree-earning student passes two WE courses within their major. The Committee is asking departments to certify at least two courses as Writing Enriched. The Committee is aware, though, that students sometimes take alternate paths through their majors. That is why the WE Committee recommends certification of more than two courses so there is some flexibility available when it might be needed.

Course Caps

Teaching writing well is difficult and time consuming. The WE Committee certainly understands that reality. The Committee recommends that departments examine their lower enrollment capped courses as the initial candidates for WE certification.

At UVU, writing intensive courses (those classes that teach predominantly or only writing, such as English 1010) are capped at 25 students. Therefore, if departments choose courses for WE certification with a cap of 25 students or lower, the WE Committee will not be concerned about the time faculty will be able to dedicate to teaching and responding to writing (since the writing intensive courses manage 25 students per class). If courses departments choose for WE certification have courses caps higher than 25, then the WE Committee asks for explanation of the plan or approach in place for how faculty will have time to directly teach and respond to students’ writing. The example explanations provided are the kinds of plans the Committee is asking departments to describe in the WE application.

Example Explanations:

  • This course has a cap of 40 students, but the writing assignments are all quite short. Therefore, it will be manageable to respond to 40 students because the overall page count is still low enough for effective feedback to be given. These short assignments offset the higher course cap.
  • This course has a cap of 50 students, but there is only one high-stakes writing assignment, which students work on in pieces throughout the semester. The faculty teaching this course will respond to these short pieces as they are submitted, which will help offset the high course cap. Instructional Assistants provide grading support for low-stakes writing assignments and other course work.
  • The cap for this course is fairly low at 30, but faculty are often asked to teach 5 sections. However, the high-stakes assignments are very short and students revise them multiple times throughout the semester. The response time needed for these short assignments offsets teaching 150 students in a WE course. There are also a lot of low-stakes assignments that will be given credit for simple completion, which will make sure students write a lot without significantly adding to the teaching and response time for faculty.

Course Levels

The Writing Enriched initiative is intended to ensure students receive writing instruction throughout their entire undergraduate education. UVU students already take GE writing courses in their first, and perhaps second, year, so the WE Committee recommends that departments choose to certify two upper-level courses—one typically taken by juniors and one typically taken by seniors (capstone courses, if required, work well for a senior-level course). The WE initiative requires that at least one of the WE courses taken by students is an upper-division course.

If departments determine that a lower-division course best meets the WE requirements and other recommendations, then the WE Committee asks departments to provide a brief explanation of these reasons in the WE application.

Assigning Faculty

Assigning WE Certified Faculty to Teach WE Courses

The WE Committee strongly recommends that WE Certified faculty—faculty who have complete the entire series of Writing Pedagogy Workshops and their associated activities—be assigned to teach WE courses whenever possible. Not only does their certification indicate the development of teaching strategies or the gaining of new knowledge regarding the teaching of writing, it also indicates dedication on the part of the faculty member to the teaching of writing. The WE Committee also encourages departments to consider ways to compensate, reward, or otherwise place high value on the willingness and desire of faculty to teach WE courses.

Number of Courses Assigned

WE courses are likely to include more writing than other courses, within many departments. The WE Committee encourages department chairs to consider limiting the number of WE courses each faculty member is asked to teach. This variation in course assignments will allow WE faculty more time and energy to teach, respond to, and grade writing.

Number of Students Assigned

In conjunction with purposefully limiting the number of WE courses that faculty teach, the WE Committee strongly recommends that department chairs also think purposefully about the number of students faculty might teach in WE courses. The Committee recommends that faculty do not teach more than 100 students in WE courses. When moving beyond 100 students, the ability to respond to student writing effectively is negatively impacted. This recommendation assumes, though, that a single faculty member is responsible for all teaching and grading in addition to responding to student writing. Departments requiring faculty to teach more than 100 students within WE courses should consider ways to support those faculty.

Faculty and Departmental Support

Connect with the WE Committee

The WE Committee understands the work involved in the curriculum revision process, particularly with the WE certification and Course Leaf processes. As a committee, then, we encourage anyone working with Writing Enriched courses—from individual faculty to entire schools or colleges—to discuss with us plans, courses, writing assignments, the WE application, etc. By talking through WE course ideas with the committee before submitting your materials to Course Leaf, there is an opportunity to address any issues quickly and directly. Please do not hesitate to contact your college/school representative or the WE Committee chair.

Writing Enriched Resources

The Writing Enriched Resources page shares information and explanations of the writing and teaching support available at UVU. The WE Committee encourages anyone involved in the development and teaching of WE courses to thoroughly explore the ways these resources might be best utilized.

The Resources page also includes links to various websites that provide guidance and support for faculty teaching writing in and across disciplines.

Writing Pedagogy Workshops

The Faculty Director of the Writing Center, in coordination with the Office of Teaching and Learning, facilitates a series of three Writing Pedagogy Workshops. The WE Committee strongly encourages faculty, no matter the level of writing experience, to participate in these workshops because it is always productive to engage in conversations about writing with faculty from around the university. The more of these conversations faculty have and the more opportunities to brainstorm ideas about the teaching of writing from diverse perspectives, the better writing teachers everyone becomes.

RTP

The WE Committee, given our understanding of the amount of time, energy, and dedication necessary to effectively teach writing, strongly recommends that departments adjust their RTP criteria to highly value the development and teaching of WE courses. Additionally, similar RTP recognition should be given for earning a Writing Enriched certification badge by completing the Writing Pedagogy Workshops.