The aim of the Writing-in-the-Disciplines program is to engage undergraduates in writing as a form of critical inquiry and scholarly research. This means that the work students do as writers needs to be a visible and integral part of a writing-designated course. Students in such courses should thus expect to:
Write frequently throughout the term
Students should be given regular practice in and comments on their writing. Assignments might take various forms, including, for instance, a series of brief response papers, or several mid-length papers, or a longer research project divided into sections.
Discuss the work they are doing as writers at various points during the term
Students might present papers seminar-style to the class, read each other's papers and then discuss them in class, give feedback to one another on drafts, collaborate on assignments, or otherwise read and respond to one another's work.
Reflect on and improve their work as writers
Students might revise major writing assignments in response to comments from their instructor. They may also write a series of papers in response to a set of linked topics or issues, draft proposals for or submit sections of longer projects, or expand short response papers into longer essays--making use of feedback along the way.
Consider the roles and uses of writing in the discipline they are studying
Students might analyze the structures of various genres of writing (critical essay, lab report, research article, policy memo, etc.), become familiar with standard forms of documentation, or discuss some of the characteristic styles of argument and discourse in the field.
The sort of course that would not fit these guidelines would be one, for instance, in which the only appearance of writing was a research paper due at the end of term, or one in which writing was used largely as a means of evaluation - that is, a course in which essays or papers were occasionally assigned in the place of tests or other projects but which did not provide occasions for students to discuss or revise their work as writers. The key is to imagine a course in which student writing is, itself, a focus of study. So long as that criterion is met, our hope is that faculty will develop courses that are as diverse as possible in the topics they explore, the forms of critical and scholarly writing they encourage, and the modes of inquiry, research, and conversation they provoke.
How to Propose a WID Course
To propose a WID course, you will need to address:
- How students learn to reflect on and improve their work as writer
- How students learn about the uses of writing in the disciplines they are studying
- The portion of the course grade based on writing
- The role of other instructors or teaching assistants involved in the course