Writing Programs

WAC / WS Designation Request

WAC Course Approval Process

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program requires all Union students to take five designated Writing (WAC) courses, from at least two academic divisions, and one Senior Writing Experience (WS). In order for courses to be designated WAC or WS, faculty must submit proposals that describe the writing requirements of each course for which they seek approval. Specifically, faculty seeking WAC approval must meet the course criteria described below.

To submit a course for WAC approval, please fill out and submit a WAC Designation Request Form. Also send a sample course syllabus to johnsonj@union.edu. You must sign in with your Union College ID and password in order to complete the WAC form linked above.

To submit a course for WS approval (Senior Writing Experience), you can fill out and submit a WS Designation Request Form. This form is a fillable PDF that must be saved to your computer, reopened, completed, and saved again — so you don’t lose your work.

WAC course proposals will be discussed by the Writing Board, and faculty will be notified regarding the status of their request within two weeks of the proposal. We are happy to review syllabi and offer feedback prior to final submission, though we cannot guarantee approval for all reviewed syllabi. If you would like to have your syllabus reviewed by the Writing Board, please send it to johnsonj@union.edu at least two weeks before your planned final submission date.

WAC Course Criteria

Union’s WAC program is founded on the principle that the more students write, the better writers they become. 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. As students learn to negotiate — and reflect upon — the various writing conventions and disciplinary “ways of knowing” that confront them in different courses, both within their chosen major and outside of it, they become more confident, sophisticated, and engaged academic thinkers and writers. The Writing Board understands that writing varies by discipline, and thus instructors in the discipline are best qualified to teach writing practices specific to the major.

With these principles in mind, all WAC courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Faculty will devote significant time to instruction on writing in the course and offer explicit, detailed guidance on how to complete assignments successfully. Detailed written assignments with clearly defined learning goals and evaluative criteria are strongly encouraged. Expectations should be communicated for all types of writing, and assignments should explicitly build on one another throughout the course. Learning goals may vary depending on the purpose of the assignment and the discipline, and these distinctions and expectations should be made explicit as well.
  • Students must revise at least one substantive assignment based on instructor feedback. Allowing students significant time between receiving instructor feedback on a draft and submission of the final product will help them improve. Faculty may have students complete written reflections on what they have chosen to change in their draft and why. If the only assignment in the course is due at the end of the term, it should be divided into sequenced parts and that receive feedback and can be revised. Feedback should focus on how meaning is made in a specific course or discipline, including organizational strategies, written forms and conventions, ways of inquiry, argument, use of sources, evidence, and so on.
  • Writing assignments in the course should count substantially toward the final grade. Students should be asked to write a minimum of 3500 words, or roughly 15 pages, divided among two or more assignments (or at least three segments of the same long assignment). Any assignment that specifically addresses how well students address content, and the intended purpose, situation, and audience can count toward the minimum word or page requirement.

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