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 intensive (WAC) courses, one of which must be WAC-R, from at least two academic divisions. Students must also complete the Senior Writing Experience (WS). In order for courses to be designated WAC/WAC-R or WS, faculty must submit proposals that describe the writing requirements of each course for which they seek approval. Specifically, faculty seeking WAC/WAC-R approval must meet the course criteria described below.

To submit a course for WAC/WAC-R approval, please fill out and submit a WAC Designation Request Form. 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), please fill our a WS Designation Request form.

WAC/WAC-R and WS proposals must be submitted prior to the term in which the course is taught.

WAC/WAC-R and WS proposals will be discussed by the Writing Board, and faculty will be notified regarding the status of their request within several 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 writingprograms@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. At Union, we understand 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 and/or peer feedback. Allowing students significant time between receiving instructor and/or peer 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. As a general guideline, in most WAC courses students are required 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 may be considered as part of students' substantial writing in a WAC course. The word- and page-count above is not cut in stone but should be considered a general guideline.

WAC-R Criteria

WAC-R courses must meet all three WAC course criteria above and integrate research instruction in a way that is both substantial and appropriate to the course context.

Learn more about the WAC-R requirement here.