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Skidmore College
Curriculum Committee

Writing-Intensive Course Guidelines

These guidelines are intended for faculty who want to propose "writing intensive" courses that will meet the all-college expository writing requirement,as well as for faculty who want to enhance the writing experiences offered in their courses. There are several routes available to students for completing the all-college writing requirement:

1. EN 105 Writing Seminar II (some students are required to take EN 103 in preparation for EN 105 or any other writing intensive course); 2. EN 105H Writing Seminar II, honors; 3. a designated writing-intensive course. With proper design (and approval from the Curriculum Committee) such courses may multiple-count in various ways, for example, to meet the writing requirement, an LS requirement, and a course in a major or minor. Writing-intensive courses should have an enrollment limit of 17 students, offering faculty ample opportunity to cover the desired disciplinary content and, at the same time, to give close attention to the students' writing. In fact, when such courses are designed appropriately, the writing activities aid mastery of the course content, rather than distract from the central concerns of the course. The directors of the Writing Program and the Writing Center should offer annual workshops on developing and conducting writing-intensive courses.


1. Each week or at least bi-weekly, students should write drafts and revisions, over the course of the semester producing several finished works (essays, summaries, research papers, reports, and so forth). The length of the papers may vary as appropriate to the discipline and the instructor's intentions, but the general expectation is that completed papers will total twenty-five or more pages of formal writing. Faculty might also choose to use journal-writing and other less structured writing exercises to augment the process of developing formal papers.

2. A writing-intensive course must include, at a number of points during the semester, classroom activities that examine the writing process. These normally include generating ideas and principles of organization; gathering and documenting information; determining an appropriate audience and voice; structuring the paper as a whole; revising; peer critiquing; attending to questions of grammar, syntax, and word usage.

3. Writing-intensive courses should introduce students to the revision process and provide them with the opportunity to revise. The process of revision must be an integral part of the writing assignments and instruction. Whether revision is built into the assignment or done as an additional graded paper will be a matter for each instructor to decide. The directors of the Writing Program and the Writing Center will gladly supply advice to faculty on strategies of instruction.

Approved: April 6, 1994
Ammended: March 1, 2005