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Frequently Asked Questions

When was the Writing Across the Curriculum Program created at LIU Post?

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program was shaped during eighteen months of deliberation by a Faculty Task Force (1998-2000), and was unanimously approved as a graduation requirement by the LIU Post faculty in February 2000. The first Writing Intensive courses were offered during the Spring 2001 semester.

What is the mission of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program?

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program was created in response to the understanding that faculty members in each discipline have the expertise to teach writing in their own disciplines and that students learn academic writing best when they learn it in the context of a discipline community. The mission of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program is threefold. First, it hopes to shape students into strong writers by allowing them to develop over the full span of their careers at LIU Post, in every discipline and every department, the critical reading, thinking, and writing skills associated with the interrelated processes of understanding and communicating. Second, the program aims to foster the students’ grasp of a variety of writing purposes and strategies, as well as their control of the disciplinary conventions in a number of areas. Finally, the program seeks to expose students to the kinds of texts and the kinds of writing they will encounter once they graduate and begin to work actively in their fields.

Who administers the Writing Across the Curriculum Program?

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program is administered by the Campus Committee on Student Writing—a group of faculty members drawn from every School at LIU Post.

To meet the WAC requirement, how many Writing Intensive courses must a LIU Post student take?

Students entering Post as freshmen must take a total of five Writing Intensive courses for graduation. The two-course First Year Writing sequence (ENG 1 and ENG 2) “counts” toward the Writing Intensive requirement; generally, students should plan to take one Writing Intensive course during each of their subsequent three years on campus.

Transfer students take one Writing Intensive course for each year of residence: transfer students entering as freshmen or sophomores (59 credits or fewer) take three Writing Intensive courses; transfer students entering as juniors (60 to 89 credits) take two Writing Intensive courses; transfer students entering as seniors (90 credits or more) take one Writing Intensive course.

Beginning with Fall 2005, students who take additional WAC courses may be able to earn a Certificate of Achievement in Writing Intensive Studies. In order to receive the Certificate, students must take an additional three writing intensive courses besides the required five for a total of eight courses. Students must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.6 in their WAC courses. The student who earns this award will receive a certificate as well as an official designation on the student’s transcripts.

What is a Writing Intensive Course?

According to the Campus Committee on Student Writing, a Writing Intensive course is a course in which the instructor assigns between 25 to 30 pages of writing, based on the premise that students learn more about a subject by writing about it.  At least 15 pages of this writing is informal writing, such as journal entries, in-class responses to questions or discussions, field notes, etc., which may not be graded, and 10-15 pages of this writing is formal, graded writing.

Since another of the program’s premises is that revision—especially in response to a reader’s comments and suggestions—is a fundamental component of the writing process, 10-15 pages of the writing in a WI class should be revised under the instructor’s direction. This writing should be spaced appropriately over the semester; it should be assigned early enough in the term for the instructor to provide feedback and for the student to craft revisions that are substantially better than drafts.

Courses are designated as Writing Intensive only by the approval of the Campus Committee on Student Writing.

What is the process by which an instructor can have a course certified as being Writing Intensive?

To have a course designated as Writing Intensive, the instructor must complete and submit a “Writing Intensive Designation New Course Proposal Form.” These forms can be downloaded from the WAC Web site by clicking here.

Hard copies of the forms can also be obtained from Wendy Ryden, Coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program (wendy.ryden@liu.edu).  Wendy Ryden’s English Department telephone number is 516-299-2965.

In addition, all instructors teaching writing intensive courses must take one WAC training workshop (see below).

In the case of multi-section courses, can a department decide to offer all sections of the course in the Writing Intensive mode?

Absolutely. But, in this case, each instructor teaching the course must also submit his or her own course proposal to the Campus Committee on Student Writing for approval. The proposal covers all sections of this course taught by this instructor in the semester for which Writing Intensive application is made and, assuming there are no changes in the Writing Intensive aspect of the course, in the future.

What is the best way for departments to organize enough Writing Intensive courses to allow majors to meet their graduation requirements?

This matter is especially important for those departments with a large number of transfer students—students who don’t have the chance to complete core and other requirements at LIU Post. The Campus Committee on Student Writing recommends that every department designate at least two courses required for the major as Writing Intensive, and then offer every section of those two required courses in the Writing Intensive format.

The School of Professional Accountancy, for example, has approached the matter from this perspective with great success. The School of Professional Accountancy requires ACC 85 (Advanced Taxation) and ACC 90 (Applications in Accounting) for every major. For the last two years, the School of Professional Accountancy has offered every section of these two courses in Writing Intensive format, thus assuring that every student in the major—whether a transfer student or a student with four years’ residence on campus—meets the WAC requirement.

Who can teach a Writing Intensive Course?

Writing Intensive courses may be offered by both full-time and adjunct faculty members, as long as they have taken the WAC training workshop.

What is the training offered for WAC instructors?

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program offers two training workshops every semester for all faculty at the beginning of each semester, and also special departmental workshops by request. The training workshop is usually three and half hours; during the workshop, teachers learn various techniques for incorporating writing into their classes, as well as advice on how to grade papers quickly and effectively. Teachers also receive a copy of John Bean’s Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. This book is packed with useful ideas for writing assignments and grading techniques in every discipline.

Are there other sorts of support offered to WAC instructors?

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program also offers additional faculty development on a periodic basis for WAC “veterans.” These informal discussions bring WAC instructors together so they can share common concerns; they also offer advice on topics ranging from incorporating informal writing into class sessions to strategies for responding to student writing. 

The Writing Center is another principal source of support for WAC instructors and students. Located in Humanities 202.  The Writing Center provides tutorial assistance in a range of ways including the services of trained graduate and undergraduate writing assistants.

How do I make time for WAC in my course, and in my life?

Many faculty members are concerned that incorporating writing into their course work will take away much-needed time from the coverage of their course material; and they are also concerned about spending additional time reading and correcting students’ writing. Using informal “writing to learn” methods in the classroom changes the nature of, but does not subtract from, total instructional time (Bean’s Engaging Ideas includes many and varied ways of doing this). By asking students to take responsibility for their own learning, writing assignments completed outside of class can actually add to the amount of time students spend on the course. As for faculty time, assignments can be designed in such a way as to make reading and responding to them part of the course preparation that is being done in any case. Those assignments which are part of the 10-15 pages of revised writing required for a WI course do, indeed, need the instructor’s close attention; but methods can be devised to expedite the response to (and, if it is a graded assignment, evaluation of) the unrevised writing which is also an important part of the WI course experience. At the WAC workshops the WAC Coordinator (and faculty who have previously taught WI courses) discuss methods that work well and are also time-efficient.

Where can I get more information about the WAC program?

Further questions can be answered by Wendy Ryden, the Coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program (wendy.ryden@liu.edu; 299-2965), by Richard McNabb (richard.mcnabb@liu.edu), Chair of the Campus Committee on Student Writing, or by Belinda Kremer (belinda.kremer@liu.edu; 299-3723), Director of the First Year Writing Program and the Writing Center.