Writing Across the Curriculum

The Writing Across the Curriculum Initiative (WAC) has two primary goals: to provide opportunities for cadets to develop discipline-specific skills in written communication and to encourage the use of writing to promote active learning across the curriculum.  Writing-intensive courses build on cadets’ experiences in the first-year composition sequence and train them to communicate effectively according to the distinct conventions of different academic disciplines.  Such training helps to prepare cadets not only for successful professional lives in their chosen fields but also for full participation in their lives as educated citizens.

Each cadet is required to take a minimum of two upper-level courses that are officially designated as writing-intensive (W). At least one of these courses must be in the cadet's major.  Writing-intensive courses provide cadets with regular opportunities to use writing to learn, analyze, and synthesize the materials of the course.  In both formal and informal assignments, cadets also refine their ability to revise their writing in response to the needs of different audiences.

The WAC Liaison Committee has primary responsibility for administering the Institute's core writing-intensive course requirement.  Representatives from the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Economics and Business, English and Fine Arts History, Math and Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Modern Languages, Physical Education, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology and Philosophy serve on the committee, which presents workshops and symposia throughout the year for faculty who wish to discuss options and possibilities for using writing in their courses. The committee also occasionally sponsors presentations for cadets.

The WAC Liaison Committee has primary responsibility for administering the Institute's core writing-intensive course requirement. Each cadet is required to take a minimum of two upper-level courses that are officially designated as writing-intensive (W-I). At least one of these courses must be in the cadet's major. 

To qualify for the W-I designation a course must a) be numbered 200 or above; b) require substantially more writing than a non-W-I section of the same course, with a minimum of 10 pages of carefully revised writing submitted for grade; and c) provide substantial guidance in techniques of revision. A complete list of courses that have thus far earned the W-I designation may be found by clicking here. Enrollment caps are placed on W-I courses to enable the professor's careful attention to each student's written work. In addition, because W-I courses build on the foundations laid in the EN 101-102 (freshman composition) sequence, only students who have satisfied the Institute requirement to pass EN 102 with a grade of C or better may enroll in W-I courses. 

Faculty who wish to designate a course as writing intensive may complete the online proposal form (click here) but must also submit a statement indicating the department head's endorsement of the proposal. This endorsement may be sent directly to the Institute Director of Writing and chair of the WAC Liaison Committee, Lt. Col. Christina McDonald (mcdonaldcr@vmi.edu). Annually, proposals received by February 1 will be reviewed in time to appear in the following fall's schedule of classes; those received by September 1 will be reviewed for the spring and summer schedules. These deadlines are firm. If you have questions about the WAC Program in general or the W-I course requirement in particular, please don't hesitate to contact any member of the WAC Liaison Committee.

Faculty who wish to designate a course as writing intensive may complete the online proposal form but must also submit a statement indicating the department head's endorsement of the proposal. This endorsement may be sent directly to the Institute Director of Writing and chair of the WAC Liaison Committee, Lt. Col. Christina McDonald (mcdonaldcr@vmi.edu). Annually, proposals received by February 1 will be reviewed in time to appear in the following fall's schedule of classes; those received by September 1 will be reviewed for the spring and summer schedules. These deadlines are firm. If you have questions about the WAC Program in general or the W-I course requirement in particular, please don't hesitate to contact any member of the WAC Liaison Committee.

Proposal Form for Writing-Intensive Courses (The link will open in a new window and require user authentication.)

 

[ Video Title Goes Here ]