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Message to Faculty (Transcript)        Message to Students (Transcript)

Quotes about writing JJ Wilson, Resident WriterAnn Harvey with bookDr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, Chicano LiteratureSharman Apt Russell with book

line Writing Across the Curriculum

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.

line WAC Philosophy

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.

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line Support for WAC at WNMU

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 skills.

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 as electives.

The Writing Center offers help to all students at posted hours on weekdays and weekends.

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.

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line Writing Intensive Classes


University policy for writing-intensive classes:

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 as writing-intensive.

Composition 101 and Composition 102 do not count as writing-intensive classes.

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 to advisors.

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 intensive:
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.

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line Contact

Writing across the Curriculum Program Coordinator:
Sharman Apt Russell
Professor, Humanities Department
Western New Mexico University
Silver City, NM 88061
575-538-6525 (work)
http://www.sharmanaptrussell.com

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