Writing at Western is a collaborative effort that involves many areas and programs: developmental and
composition classes designed to teach writing skills, writing-intensive classes that emphasize writing
assignments in a range of disciplines, the Writing Center and tutoring programs on campus that help
students with their writing projects, the Writing Across the Curriculum program, and various student publications.
The material below addresses the Writing Across the Curriculum
(WAC) program, the writing-intensive classes, and the Writing Center. Syllabi of writing-intensive classes can also be found at this site.
Writing Across the Curriculum is based on the idea that writing is an effective learning tool and that writing skills can not be confined to a few classes or a single department. Writing is essential to success in every career. Students need a range of assignments given at all levels and in all areas of undergraduate and graduate work. Writing skills are also specific to disciplines; geologists don't do the same kind of writing as nurses or accountants. As one researcher noted, if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a university to educate a writer.
WAC involves two different but complementary approaches.
"Writing to learn" often uses ungraded writing assignments that encourage students to "think on paper." Writers are their own audience. Summarizing a chapter or a lecture, for example, helps students discover what they already know and what they still need to learn. Keeping a journal based on a relationship to a subject or textbook allows the student to more fully explore that relationship.
In addition, continued practice in writing may help students become more fluid and at ease with the act of writing.
“Writing to communicate” often involves graded
assignments with a designated “other” as audience. These assignments
require shared ideas about form, structure, content, and the appropriate
rules of Standard English. They often require revision.
“Writing to learn” and “writing to communicate”
act synergistically. Both are important to a student’s development
as a writer. Both are part of a student’s primary education.
The main role of WAC on the WNMU campus is to encourage faculty to explore
the use of writing assignments in their classrooms and to help them do
this in a way that works for everyone — teachers and students. WAC
hopes to promote a “culture of writing” at Western, a culture
that celebrates creativity, critical thinking, and communication.
Students with low writing skills are placed in developmental writing classes.
Developmental Writing I emphasizes Standard English, the organization of
the paragraph, and word processing skills. Developmental Writing II emphasizes
Standard English, the organization of the short paper, and word processing
General education requirements include six hours of writing classes,
Composition 101 and Composition 102. Both classes have an exit exam which
is graded Pass/Fail by a panel of composition instructors. Failing the
exam reduces the student's grade from an A to a B, a B to a C, and a C
to a D. Students who receive Ds must repeat these courses.
For undergraduates, the Humanities Department also offers Advanced Composition,
Traditional Grammar, Creative Writing, and Writing for Professionals
The Writing Center offers help to all students at posted hours on weekdays
Peer tutoring is available at the Academic Support Center.
In the spring of 2002, twelve credits of writing-intensive classes were
made part of a student's graduation requirement. Further policy concerning
these classes was approved in the fall of 2002. By the spring of 2003,
fifty-four classes at the university had been designated as writing-intensive.
The WAC program coordinator organizes four WAC seminars for faculty every
year and works with instructors on an individual basis.
Twelve credits of writing-intensive classes are a requirement for graduation.
The following is a general university-wide policy concerning these classes:
Writing-intensive classes ask for a minimum of twelve pages of typed
text or their equivalency (roughly 3,000 words) from their students. These
writing assignments are a part of the student's final grade and can be
a mix of papers and essay exams.
Departments will determine what constitutes a writing-intensive class
in their disciplines and which specific classes they want to designate
Composition 101 and Composition 102 do not count as writing-intensive
All department policies concerning writing-intensive classes should be
written and submitted to the VPAA.
The VPAA's Office will distribute a list of writing-intensive classes
Writing-intensive classes will be designated with a WI by the Registrar
either in the catalog or in the semester schedules.
Sample departmental policy for WI classes:
Department of Business Administration and Criminal Justice
Writing Intensive Course Policy
In accordance with WNMU policy, courses in the department may be designated
as writing intensive only if students are assigned a minimum of twelve pages
(approximately 3,000 words) of writing that is a part of students' final
course grade. Assignments that require students to analyze material or create
material such as term papers, reaction papers, critical summaries of assigned
reading, essay tests, projects, case analyses, and business plans may be
counted towards the twelve-page minimum. Assignments that merely require
students to summarize assigned reading such as textbook chapters or articles
shall not be counted towards the twelve-page minimum.
The following courses are designated as writing
BSAD 341 Consumer Behavior
BSAD 355 Communication in Business and Industry
BSAD 441 Business Research
BSAD 445 Marketing Strategy
BSAD 451 Human Resource Management
BSAD 452 Organizational Behavior
BSAD 486 International Business
BSAD 487 International Accounting
BSAD 497 Business Policies and Management
CJUS 232 Criminal Investigation
CJUS 242 Police in America
CJUS 311 Police Administration and Management
CJUS 321 Criminal Justice and Minorities
CJUS 322 Substance Abuse and Crime
CJUS 342 Community Policing
CJUS 431 Ethics and Liability
CJUS 432 American Crime Policy
CJUS 441 Organized Crime
CJUS 481 Internship in Criminal Justice
ECON 370 Applied Business Economics
ECON 407 History of Economic Thought
ECON 430 Mid East: Past, Present, and Future
Additional courses may be designated as writing intensive
during a given semester.