Brooklyn College Writing Across the Curriculum


Instructions for Submitting W Major Proposals

WRITING-INTENSIVE MAJORS/MINORS/PROGRAMS: IMPLEMENTATION DOCUMENT

Designating a major or minor as a writing-intensive program is an alternative (to offering one or more writing-intensive courses) for those programs in which writing is a significant component. In a writing-intensive major, minor, or program, effective writing is both a course/program goal and a means of promoting and assessing student learning. How you will demonstrate this to the WAC Committee is not a fixed formula. Depending on the approach you take, you will want to submit different types of documents. It’s best to consult with the Committee chair to agree on what is acceptable.

DOCUMENTATION:

Follow the CUCDR template for Section A-III: Changes in Degree Programs. The proposal should also include:

1) a general statement about your program’s approach to writing and how writing is an integral aspect of the program’s pedagogy. Include related program goals.

2) an explanation of how the program is structured to guarantee that all students in this program will have taken at least some of the pertinent courses. Be sure to address this issue in relation to all relevant concentrations.

3) representative course syllabi. Just one will do if it’s representative of a specific set of required courses. Bibliographies are not required for these; types of writing (e.g., papers, chance to rewrite drafts, essay tests, journals) are more relevant.

4) outcomes assessment for the writing component of the program (not extensive; see guide below). Please refer to the Outcomes Assessment Resource Manual available from the Provost. In the meantime, see below.

5) excerpts from one or two departmental documents that demonstrate that writing as a means of learning is explicit and intentional in the formulation of assignments and learning objectives.

Examples:

– mission statements

– program goals specifically addressing the use of writing

– excerpts from outcomes assessment documents that deal with writing in your program

– multi-year plans

– annual reports

– instructions to your adjuncts or full-time faculty that explicitly refer to writing requirements

POSSIBLE BASIC TACTICS:

– English passed a resolution mandating that all electives require a minimum of 10 pages of writing with the chance to revise at least one paper over the course of the semester.

– Music provided a narrative that shows how writing is used in several required courses and articulates throughout the major.

– Art described the types of writing used and demonstrated how writing is central to all art history courses.

– Education submitted various documents created for NCATE which explain how writing is used as a mode of learning in its classes.

– To ensure a long-term commitment to writing, you could include that objective in relevant course descriptions. This is one persuasive piece of evidence that writing will remain embedded in the course’s pedagogy.

Be sure to provide evidence that:

– a preponderance of (required) courses have writing as a learning objective

– writing is integral to the mastery of course content

– some courses allow the opportunity to revise at least one paper or to develop papers in stages

Caveat: Do not forget that your requirements must be viable for weekend and evening students.

Assistance: If you wish help in devising or preparing the document, you or a representative may ask for help from the WAC coordinator (Ellen Belton: Ebelton@brooklyn.cuny.edu), who can also assign one of the CUNY Writing Fellows (all of whom are former adjuncts trained and experienced in integrating writing into the curriculum) to work with you.

IMPLEMENTATION AND SUBMISSION:

1. Get departmental approval.
2. Use the usual Faculty Council documentation format for Section A-III: Changes in Degree Programs.
1. Add “X is a writing-intensive major/minor/program” directly before or after the degree requirements.
2. Under Discussion, specify the types of documentation you offered as evidence that writing is embedded in the program as a tool for learning. Include mention of approval by the WAC Committee.
3. The dept or chair or program head should submit one e-mail copy and 4 hard copies to the WAC Committee (c/o Liz Weis, Film Dept.)
4. Once the Committee has approved the document, the Committee will notify both the dept. chair/program head and the chair of the CUCDR.
5. Add to your “discussion” that the WAC Committee has approved the proposal.
6. Then submit the required documents to the CUCDR.

OUTCOMES ASSSESSMENT:

The General Education Outcomes Assessment Task Force has identified the goals and objectives below as appropriate for writing-intensive courses. Use the goal below and select those learning objectives that apply to your program. Discuss how your program will address the objectives appropriate to your field (you will want to make some of the objectives more specific to conform to the needs of your discipline). If you already have developed your own set of goals, objectives, and assessment tools, please feel free to use those that pertain to writing.

Goal: Effective writing.

Learning objectives: Ability to express ideas clearly in writing, which includes:

1. the ability to use writing to reflect on one’s learning and to understand difficult material

2. the ability to move from low stakes [ungraded] writing to more formal pieces

3. the ability to draft and revise written material

4. the ability to organize according to a pattern that is appropriate to the discipline

5. the ability to develop ideas by using supportive evidence appropriate to the discipline

6. the ability to edit one’s work so that grammar and syntax are correct

7. the ability to write a research paper that uses quotations, paraphrases, and appropriate documentation

8. the ability to write for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Assessment:

Specify which assessment tools (e.g., assignments, exercises, portfolios, and essay questions on exams) will enable you to assess each objective you have listed. (You do not have to include specific rubrics.)








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