Writing Programs

Curriculum Structure

Three Tiers of WAC

Union’s WAC Program is built on a three-tier structure, and we are working to reinforce the “vertical” nature of the curriculum. We believe that the more students write, the better writers they become. Research shows that students learn best when they write across a wide variety of courses and contexts, and when writing is integrated into their coursework, so that writing tasks are closely tied to individual course learning objectives.

All Union students are required to complete the following WAC requirements, as they move through their undergraduate experience at the college:

(1) the First-Year Preceptorial and a Sophomore Research Seminar;
(2) five courses (from at least two different academic divisions) that have been specially certified and designated as WAC courses
(3) a senior writing (WS) experience such as a senior thesis, senior seminar paper, or designated departmental WS course

Union’s WAC program became effective for the class entering in 1990. The program was revised in 2000-2001 and continues to undergo revision, especially as we work to connect the three tiers of the Union WAC experience. Moving forward, our goal is for students to reflect on their own development as thinkers and writers, as they move from course to course, from context to context and discipline to discipline, through the three stages of the WAC program at Union.

Tier One

All students take the First-Year Preceptorial (FYP) and a Sophomore Research Seminar (SRS) as the first or foundational “tier” of WAC. In these courses, students are introduced to core academic writing, reading, argumentation, and research practices—ways of knowing and inquiry—that cut across the major disciplines, departments, and programs at the college.

Tier Two

In the second tier of WAC, students take five writing-focused courses, in at least two of the academic divisions at Union: Arts and Humanities (Division I), Social Sciences (Division II), Sciences and Mathematics (Division III), Engineering and Computer Science (Division IV). In this tier, students continue the foundational work of FYP and SRS, on one hand, and gain knowledge of discipline-specific writing conventions, research practices, ways of inquiry and argumentation on the other. Second tier WAC courses are approved by the Writing Board and designated as “WAC” by the Registrar.

Tier Three — Senior Writing

The third tier of the WAC Program is a fully discipline-specific capstone requirement organized by individual departments and programs. In the Senior Writing Experience (WS), Union students must demonstrate writing proficiency as defined by their chosen major field(s). In most departments, the WS requirement is fulfilled by completing a thesis, another research project, or a senior seminar. Courses that satisfy this requirement are approved by the Writing Board and designated as “WS” courses by the registrar.

Learn More

To learn more about the rationale of our program, and Writing Across the Curriculum pedagogy more generally, see our WAC Principles page.