Proposed Revision to the Writing Requirement


In 2012, at the urging of the Writing Program Director,  Provost Beth Paul and Assistant Vice President for General Education John Pearson agreed to appoint a task force to consider and propose a revision to the writing requirement. That task force, under the leadership of Writing Program Director Megan O'Neill, met regularly during the fall 2013 semester. Members included Eric Kurlander, Chris Tobler, Jane Christenson, Maggie Herb, and Kirsten Work. The proposal was widely discussed with faculty groups and was forwarded to UGEC by the General Education Assessment Committee, since it was the GEAC Writing Assessment conducted in 2009 that spurred movement in this vital area.

During academic year 2013-2014 UGEC considered the proposal. It was approved and sent to UCCAP in Fall of 2014.

In spring of 2015, UCCAP approved the proposal. At the next University faculty meeting, the faculty discussed it and agreed to ask for additional information before formally voting to adopt or reject.

The proposal for revising the Writing requirement is scheduled for the November 20, 2015 meeting of the university faculty.

Below are links to key elements of the proposal, the research driving it, and responses to faculty concerns.

Inside Higher Education offered an essay entitled "Teaching Writing Intensive Courses" on Feb 7, 2014.

A Snapshot of the Proposed Writing Requirement

 The 2 + 3 Model (UCCAP approval Spring 2015)

The proposed Writing Enhanced Curriculum program eliminates the one-course current writing requirement (ENGL 101- Writing and Rhetoric) and instead embeds writing across the curriculum via five courses.

  • One FSEM
  • One JSEM
  • Three additional Writing Intensive (WI) or approved Writing courses* either in or out of a student’s major (*for example, a ‘basic’ writing course)

Policy for transfer of credits (UCCAP approval Spring 2015)

Provision for enhanced student support for writing

The Writing Center, as the primary resource for student writing at Stetson, will develop a Writing Fellows program. Writing Fellows are advanced students who are “assigned” to specific courses to support writing instruction. Faculty and Fellows work collaboratively on the goals and stages of writing assignments and feedback/support. A Fellows program will be coordinated through the Writing Center and will be under the joint leadership of the Writing Center Director and the Writing Program Director. BIOL courses already employ this model, known as SPIs, which internal assessment shows is highly effective. (See Brown, Tufts, Barnard, DePaul; among our peer schools, Williams and Bowdoin also offer successful Writing Fellows Programs.)

Provision for substantial investment in faculty development 

The faculty development component is critical to support faculty in acquiring the understanding and comfort level necessary to teach with a writing intensive pedagogy. Faculty would be offered regular and proactive mentoring, training, and support for responding to student writing, teaching for transfer of concepts and skills, strategies for sequencing assignments, and ongoing discussion and development of writing intensive courses. Resident experts, invited speakers, and workshop leaders will form a corps of support structures for faculty to continue to grow in their fields and as part of Stetson’s body of teacher/scholars.

 Timeline for Implementation

 If faculty vote to approve the change in the writing requirement at the end of Fall 2015, the new requirement will start in Fall 2016. Implementation will be conducted as follows:

Spring and Summer 2015

  • Faculty development workshops, including national and local experts to assist with conversion
  • Launch of Writing Fellows program for implementation Fall 2016
  • Investigation into potential grant and other funding opportunities
  • Discuss establishment of faculty governance group (with Academic Affairs)
  • Potential limited pre/post assessment in some courses
  • Making adjustments to Degree Audit and Banner to reflect new requirement
  • Identification of key courses to target and develop for enhanced, high impact pedagogy and WI designation

Fall 2016

  • Pre-fall workshop for interested faculty
  • Implementation of new requirement
  • Launch of Writng Fellows embedded in select courses
  • Any necessary adjustment of degree audits and policies for current students
  • Ongoing faculty training
  • New faculty governance group begins oversight and planning work
  • Ongoing development of WI courses and faculty support

Spring 2017

  • Spring workshops for interested faculty
  • Identify viable and effective assessment process
  • Ongoing development of WI courses and faculty support