Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning (CATL)

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Once an instructor is approved by the following procedure, he or she may elect to teach any course in a writing emphasis mode without further approval.

  1. Contact Writing Programs Coordinator. Indicate your interest in writing emphasis certification in an email message to Bryan Kopp.
  2. Attend a consultation or workshop. After reviewing basic information about writing emphasis courses, instructors are required to complete a session on designing, using, and evaluating writing assignments in the classroom. (Instructors who have background in college-level writing instruction may be exempted from this requirement.)
  3. Complete an approval form. Send a completed approval form to the Writing Programs Coordinator for review by members of the Writing Programs Advisory Board or other approved Writing Emphasis instructors. Instructors may need to revise and resubmit approval forms before proceeding.
  4. Gain final approval. The Writing Programs Coordinator submits recommendations to the General Education Committee for final endorsement. GEC endorses certifications in batches, typically once or twice a year.

Review Criteria for Approval Forms

Reviewers will use  this survey  [ preview ] to submit comments on writing emphasis approval forms.

I. Integration of Informal Writing (Writing to Learn)

"Writing to Learn" refers to brief assignments or activities, in or out of class, in which students use writing as a learning tool to improve their understanding of course materials, concepts, or topics. Such informal writing is often completed in the moment, with little or no revision or editing. 

Course reviewers submit comments on writing emphasis approval forms, indiciating that they Agree,  Disagree, or are Not Sure about course for review meets the following writing emphasis attributes: 

  • Teacher describes specific types.
  • Students write at least 40 pages.
  • Assignments linked with course goals.
  • Students practice regularly. 
  • Teacher manages workload. 
  • Teacher clarifies guidelines for evaluating student work.

Reviewers then add comments are added about the integration of informal writing in the course up for WE certification.

II. Integration of Formal Writing

These assignments require students to work through a composing process, including drafting and revising, to produce a text that follows discipline-appropriate conventions related to format, style, documentation, etc. Students typically receive feedback and guidance related to explicit criteria. 

Again, course reviewers submit comments on writing emphasis approval forms, indiciating that they Agree,  Disagree, or are Not Sure if the course for review meets the following writing emphasis attributes: 

  • Teacher describes specific types. 
  • Students write 10 or more pages. 
  • Teacher indicates audience(s) to be addressed. 
  • Teacher specifies stylistic conventions to be followed. 
  • Students are provided with models or examples.
  • Students receive feedback.
  • Teacher clarifies guidelines for evaluating student work.

Reviewers then add comments about the integration of formal writing in the course up for WE certification.

III. Sample Course Materials

Course reviewers submit comments on writing emphasis approval forms, indiciating that they Agree,  Disagree, or are Not Sure if the course for review meets the following writing emphasis attributes: 

  • Teacher includes portions of a syllabus or handouts related to the writing component of the course. 
  • Teacher provides guidelines for a sample formal writing assignment.

IV. Overall Recommendation

Finally, reviewers then add comments about their Overall Recommendation if the course meets the crtieria to become a Writing Emphasis-certified course, and indicate whether they recommend for approval by GEC or recommend the course be revised and resubmitted if the course is not yet ready to meet the criteria of a writing-emphasis certified course.

Recommended Submission Dates

Approval forms should be submitted at least one semester prior to teaching writing emphasis courses. To ensure adequate time for review and revision, approval forms should be ideally submitted near the  beginning  of the preceding semester and no later than mid-term.

Certified Writing Emphasis Instructors

This comprehensive list from the Registrar's Office includes all instructors who have been certified to teach Writing Emphasis courses. Please send updates or corrections to Bryan Kopp, Writing Programs Coordinator.

Certified Writing Emphasis Courses

Course offerings vary from semester to semester. To find available Writing Emphasis courses, please go to UWL's Course Timetable and take the following steps:

  • Select Term
  • Select Course Career: Undergraduate
  • Select the Requirement Designation category.
  • Choose Writing Emphasis from the pull-down.
  • Click the Search button to list current or future Writing Emphasis-certified courses.

 WE-Timetable-Search