Writing Subcommittee Minutes, 3/16/09


Members Present: J. Carter, N. Hinman, K. Kuipers, M. Medvetz, M. Semanoff, S. Smillie, K. Zoellner

Members Excused/Absent: H. Bruce

Ex-Officio Present:  K. Peterson, K. Ryan, A. Walker-Andrews

Guest: P. Haber, J. Lopach

Chair Hinman called the meeting to order at 2:15 p.m. 


The minutes from 3/9/09 were approved.



  • Professor Lopach summarized the history of PSC 400 and how it meets the needs of the department. The one credit add- on course is similar to an independent study.  The student meets with the instructor and chooses a writing project that is related to the content of the associated course.  Political Science has over 400 undergraduates and a variety of subfields that use different approaches to writing.
    The expectation of the course is explained to new faculty by the department chair.  The writing course guidelines document is provided as well. The department policy manual covers basic information about the course.  Faculty members are limited to accepting 10 students in PSC 400 per semester.

    Most of the associated courses include writing and there are likely discussions about the quality of writing that focus on critical thinking as well.  The rewrite component is done in PSC 400.  The merit of the approach is the flexibility.  Students can take the course in a subject matter that they are interested in and the faculty can teach writing in different ways.  
  • The Writing Committee has concerns regarding implementing the new guidelines for next year and how this will affect current students.  Students have to be able to take the courses necessary to graduate.  There is confusion regarding the upper-division writing requirement.  Majors that do not have a specific requirement need to be given the opportunity to update the catalog language and identify courses that will serve their students.   A transition year for writing courses would prevent the need for appeals to resolve issues related to the transition.  Members were asked to think about issue. 
  • Professor Zoellner will not be able to attend ASCRC on March 24th and asked for a replacement to present the approved writing list to the Curriculum Committee.  ASUM Vice President Smillie is also a member of ASCRC and will be in attendance.   Chair Hinman will also be able to attend.

Business Items:

  • The groups presented additional courses for approval (see list below).
  • Members accepted the General Education Brochure.
  • Director Peterson has been working with the Registrar's Office to find a way to assure students have passed the WPA prior to taking upper-division writing courses.  It is possible to put a prerequisite test score restriction on upper-division writing courses.  Students would not be able to enroll in the course without passing the exam.  The Writing Committee is in favor of implementing the restriction.  It would be effective spring 2010.  The implementation will need to be advertised so that students can be prepared.  Professor Zoellner will inform ASCRC about the possibility.

    Hopefully this will force students to take the exam at the appropriate time and it can be evaluated for its intended purpose- students' preparedness for writing in upper-division courses.   

Good and Welfare- none

The meeting was adjourned at 3:20 pm.

Writing Courses approved at the 3/16/09 Writing Committee Meeting

Writing Courses


AAS 372

African American Identity


ECON 350  (ECNS 317)

Economic Development

Upper-Division Writing Requirement Courses


ANTH 450

Archaeological Theory (2/26/09 follow-up: MacDonald)

Computer Science

SC 499

Senior Thesis/Project


ENLT 331

Voices of the American Renaissance


BIOL 304



BIOL 306



BIOL 341

Ecology Lab


BIOL 366

Freshwater Ecology