History of the 2016 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 was voted on at the Dec 4 2015 meeting of the university faculty. The faculty voted 77-19 to approve (3 abstentions). The new requirement will be effective for Fall 2016.

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


Inside Higher Ed published this article on Dec 4, 2015: "With Writing, study finds, quality--not quantity--matters most."

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


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

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)
  • Design and develop a four year assessment program
  • 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 WE 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 WE courses and faculty support

Spring 2017

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