Writing Subcommittee Minutes, 4/6/09

Members Present: H. Bruce, N. Hinman, K. Kuipers, M. Medvetz, M. Semanoff, S. Smillie, K. Zoellner

Members Excused/Absent: J. Carter

Ex-Officio Present:  K. Peterson, K. Ryan

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

 The minutes from 3/23/09 were approved.



  • Chair Hinman attended the ASCRC meeting on 3/24/09.  ASCRC agreed to the transition year for the writing requirement with a change in implementation.  It suggested that programs be contacted that did not submit courses for review according to the revised guidelines to assure the courses would still meet the old criteria.  It also recommended that these courses be included on the catalog writing courses list in the catalog with an asterisk indicating they are valid for one year only (See communication below - #1).

    ECOS did not agree with including the old courses on the revised course list and has suggested that the catalog include a link to the list of old courses that will meet the old guidelines.

    The following courses will meet the old guidelines.  Response is still pending from History.

ANTH 340H, 359
AS 340, 432

CHIN 315L, 432

FOR  340


LS 315L, 321H

MAR 450

MCLG 330, 432
MGMT 348

MKTG 461

NAS 329

NAS 403

PHIL 461

  • A communication was also sent out requesting departments think about the accuracy of their catalog language describing the upper-division writing requirement by the major (see below- #2). 

 Business Items:

  • It seems the English department requires that the writing guidelines be explicit in the requirement of faculty expectations.  The intention is for the feedback to come from the faculty member not peer review.  The Committee revised the requirements in the guidelines to include "instructors must" and rather than ‘give students the opportunity to revise' the language will be changed to "require students to revise" (see below- #3).
  • The workgroups presented the courses for approval (list below # 4).  One courses was not approved and follow-up is pending on another.  There was discussion regarding PSC 400.  Not all members were in favor of approving this package.  Some of the packaged courses did not include any writing.  It would be helpful for the department to develop a guide for instructors similar to what was submitted for SOC 488.   The writing courses are scheduled for a rolling three year review, so information demonstrating the effectives of the courses can be requested at that time.  Chair Hinman will communicate the committees' decision to Political Science and perhaps identify courses that fulfill the intent of the requirement and others that do not.  
  • The committee will meet again on April 20th and May 4th to discuss the WPA as an assessment tool.  A chair-elect will also need to be identified.

Good and Welfare- none

The meeting was adjourned at 3:10 pm.


In our review of Writing Courses and the Upper-division Writing Requirement in the major (see attached list of approved courses), the Writing Committee and ASCRC have observed that there are courses from your program that have not been submitted for review under the New Guidelines. Of course, this is a departmental decision, but we are concerned that there may be students in your major who have intended to use these courses to fulfill their General Education Writing Requirements. As a consequence, we have voted to extend the approval of such courses for one year to avoid any inconvenience to students, particularly graduating seniors. Yet, in so doing, we are operating under the assumption that such courses will continue to be taught using the old, approved syllabus, which adheres to the 2008-09 writing course requirements.
If the course remains the same, then students will be allowed to use it to fulfill the Writing Course or Upper Division Writing Requirement in their major. The courses will be in the 2009-10 writing course list with an asterisk indicating that they are valid for one-year only. If the course changes substantially with respect to the writing outcomes, assignments, and goals, then it will not be listed.
Please poll the faculty member teaching XXXX to determine whether the courses will still fulfill the 2008-09 writing course requirements.  Will the course(s) be taught in 2009-10 with the same syllabus and, therefore, fulfill the writing course requirement under the old guidelines?  
We would like to make this information available for pre-registration. Please have the instructors respond to Camie Foos (camie.foos@umontana.edu) and to me


Department Chairs,

I sincerely hope this is the final query that I need to make of you regarding the Writing Requirements. Is the current catalog language for the writing requirement in your program accurate for your Upper-division Writing Requirement? It may or may not be, depending on any changes that your program has made. If so, please reply that it is accurate. If not, would you please modify it to accurately reflect what the requirement is? Please reply to me (nancy.hinman@umontana.edu) and Camie (camie.foos@umontana.edu) by 4/15/09.

Note that the 2009-10 catalog will contain a list of courses that fulfill the Upper-division Writing Requirement in a program. Because each department is expected to define its own Upper-division Writing Requirement, this list will not be published in future catalogs. The Upper-division Writing Requirement will need to be defined in the section of the catalog in which the requirements for the major are defined. If your program has used the list in the past, you may want to consider making that change now as the change will be required in Autumn 2010.



Revised Guideline Language

2.  Requirements for Approved Writing Courses*
            Instructors must:

  • Limit enrollment to 25 students per instructor or grader (FAQ 8)
  • Identify course outcomes in the syllabus
  • Provide students with detailed written instructions, including criteria for evaluation, for all formal writing assignments (FAQ 3)
  • Provide adequate instruction and require students to write frequently for specified audiences, purposes, and genres
    • Formal or informal
    • Graded or ungraded
    • In-class or out-of-class
  • Provide feedback on students' writing and give students the opportunity require students to revise and resubmit at least one formal writing assignment (FAQ 3)
  • Require each student individually to compose at least 16 pages of writing for assessment(FAQ 5/6) over the course of the semester
  • Base a significant portion (at least 50% of a 3 credit course or equivalent hours) of the course grade on student performance on writing assignments (FAQ2)
  • Incorporate information literacy into learning outcomes, instruction, and assignments



Approved Writing Courses                                      4/6/09 Writing Committee Meeting

 Writing Courses


ART 303L

Contemporary Art and Art Criticism


DRAM 320

Theatre History




Survey of French Cinema

Upper-Division Writing Expectation


CSD 430 & CSD 440

Senior Capstone I and II


DRAM 321

Theatre History II


RECM 482

Wilderness and Protected Area Management



Cultural Ecology


GEOS other

Political Science

PSCI 400

Advanced Writing in Political Sciences


SOCI 488

Religion and Political Movements

Not approved


ANTH 431

Ethnographic Field Methods