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 Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

ASCRCWriting Subcommittee Minutes 9/8/08 


Members Present: H. Bruce, J. Carter, N. Hinman, K. Kuipers, M. Semanoff, K. Zoellner

Members Excused/Absent: M. Medvetz, K. Ryan

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

Chair Hinman called the meeting to order at 3:15 p.m. 

 

The minutes from 4/28/08 were approved later in the meeting

 

Communications:

  • Members introduced themselves.
  • The writing course guidelines, catalog language, and frequently asked questions documents should be presented to the Faculty Senate on 10/9/08 for vote on 11/13/08.  After the committee approves the drafts today, they will go back to ASCRC and ECOS for consideration.
  • The committee needs to find a different meeting time to accommodate the the Composition Program Director, Kate Ryan.  It seems that Monday from 2-3 is available.  Camie will contact Professor Medvetz to see whether this time will work with his schedule.  If so the next meeting will be on October 13th.
  • The Executive Committee of the Senate has requested information regarding the UDWPA.  It had concerns regarding pass rates. Kelly Peterson, the Writing Center Director is looking into the issue and will be creating a report.  She will send the report to the Writing Committee prior to ECOS. This is a good opportunity to initiate a broader discussion of the exam. 
  • Associate Provost Walker-Andrews will not be attending meetings.  If the committee feels there is an issue that requires her attention she will attend a meeting upon request. 

 


Unfinished Business:

  • Associate Dean Tompkins noticed that the proposed catalog language was not parallel to the language proposed by the English Placement & Composition Workgroup.  He made recommended changes and sent them to Chair Hinman. It then became necessary to review the Writing Course Guidelines document to make sure that the language was consistent.  Several changes were suggested.  The committee reviewed the two documents and approved the changes along with a making a few minor edits.  The approved documents are appended.  

New Business:

  • The Committee asked Associate Provost Walker-Andrews whether the Provost would want to meet with the Writing Committee.  She suggested that the documents be sent to him with the invitation to meet with the committee if he would like.  

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

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Recommended Writing Course Guidelines

This document describes the Writing Course Guidelines for The University of Montana-Missoula.

 

 

I. Overview

The ability to write effectively is fundamental to a liberal arts education, essential to academic inquiry, and important for student success in academic, professional, and civic endeavors. Composition and writing courses at The University of Montana (UM) help students become adept at writing for a variety of audiences and purposes. Effective writing both strengthens and is strengthened by an understanding of critical thinking and information literacy. Students should learn to use writing as a means of finding, synthesizing, analyzing, and evaluating information, retaining course material, and using that information and material in order to form and express coherent thoughts and arguments.

Writing Requirements for Graduation

To fulfill the writing requirements at UM and to demonstrate writing proficiency, students should satisfy the following four requirements in order:

1.         Composition (ENEX 101, WTS 101, ENEX 200, or equivalent), with a grade of     C- or better

     2.    One approved writing course (W), with a grade of C- or better

     3.    The Upper-Division Writing Proficiency Assessment, with a score of 4 or better

     4.     Departmental upper-division writing requirement consisting of one of the following options:

o   One upper-division writing course (numbered 300-400), with a grade of C or better defined by the department and approved by the ASCRC Writing Committee, or

o   An upper-division writing expectation defined by the department and approved by the ASCRC Writing Committee

A.  Composition Course

The Composition Program seeks to advance the University's mission to pursue academic excellence in the context of writing instruction. Composition courses facilitate students' achievements in exploring and enacting rhetorical knowledge; critical thinking, reading, writing and research processes; and knowledge of conventions.  Writing is a powerful means of purposeful inquiry, communication, and action in the classroom and in the world. (For current information, see: http://www.cas.umt.edu/english/composition/curriculum.htm.)


B.  Approved Writing Courses

Courses accompanied by a "W" designation are writing courses. These courses use informal and formal writing to enhance writing skills and promote critical thinking in content areas. Information literacy is integrated into all general education courses approved for Group I: English Writing Skills. Students are required to complete Composition (ENEX 101, WTS 101, ENEX 200), unless exempted, prior to taking a W-designated course.

 

C.  Writing Proficiency Assessment

The Upper-Division Writing Proficiency Assessment is a two-hour essay exam that all students seeking their first undergraduate degree must pass. Students pass the exam if their essay demonstrates adequate critical reading, writing, and reasoning skills as measured against a published scoring rubric (see: http://www.umt.edu/writingcenter/documents/17.WPAScoringCriteria.pdf). The exam must be taken after students complete 45 credits and before students earn 70 credits. 

D.  Upper-Division Writing Requirement in the Major

These writing classes typically focus on the student's major area of study. For this reason, faculty members within specific disciplines develop courses based on the expectations for research, analysis, and writing in their field.

 

 

Types of Acceptable Writing Tasks

 

Writing tasks may include formal and informal, graded and ungraded, and in-class or out-of-class exercises. The range of possible writing tasks includes journal entries, case studies, blogs, e-portfolios, hypertext, lab reports, free writing, annotated bibliography, essay, analyses, proposals, abstracts, reviews, field notes, electronic postings, research papers, or proofs. For more ideas, contact the Writing Center at http://www.umt.edu/writingcenter/

 

 

 

II. Guidelines

Writing requirements establish a logical progression of development as students move through the college curriculum. Therefore, writing courses and the upper-division writing expectation have different outcomes. W-designated courses and the upper-division writing requirement are reviewed and approved by the Writing Subcommittee and Academic Standards and Curriculum Review Committee (ASCRC).  Proposals for all writing courses and experiences should specifically address how the course will achieve the learning outcomes. Faculty who propose writing courses or are assigned to teach departmental courses are encouraged to seek guidance from the Mansfield Library, the Writing Center, and other campus resources. Specifically, collaboration with library faculty is encouraged for addressing information literacy. Departments will determine the criteria for graders, if used.

 

A.  Approved Writing Courses

Students should plan to take an approved writing course after completing the composition course and prior to taking the writing proficiency assessment. Upon completing the W-designated course, students should understand writing as means to practice academic inquiry and demonstrate the ability to formulate and express opinions and ideas in writing. Upon completing the W-designated course, the student should be able to:

1.  Learning Outcomes

  • Use writing to learn and synthesize new concepts
  • Formulate and express opinions and ideas in writing
  • Compose written documents that are appropriate for a given audience or purpose
  • Revise written work based on constructive feedback
  • Find, evaluate, and use information effectively
  • Begin to use discipline-specific writing conventions
  • Demonstrate appropriate English language usage

 

2.  Requirements for Approved Writing Courses*

  • Limit enrollment to 25 students per instructor or grader
  • Identify course outcomes in the syllabus
  • Provide students with detailed written instructions, including criteria for evaluation, for all formal writing assignments
  • 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 to revise and resubmit at least one formal writing assignment
  • Require each student individually to compose at least 16 pages of writing for assessment 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
  • Incorporate information literacy into learning outcomes, instruction, and assignments

B.  Upper-Division Writing Requirement in the Major
Upon completing the upper-division writing requirement, students should be more active, confident, and effective contributors to a body of knowledge and should understand the ethical dimensions of inquiry. Upon completing the upper-division writing requirement, the student should be able to:

1.  Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and pursue more sophisticated questions for academic inquiry
  • Find, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize information effectively from diverse sources
  • Manage multiple perspectives as appropriate
  • Recognize the purposes and needs of discipline-specific audiences and adopt the academic voice necessary for the chosen discipline
  • Use multiple drafts, revision, and editing in conducting inquiry and preparing written work
  • Follow the conventions of citation, documentation, and formal presentation appropriate to that discipline
  • Develop competence in information technology and digital literacy

 

2.  Requirements for Upper-Division Writing Courses*

  • Limit enrollment to 25 students per instructor or grader
  • Identify course outcomes in the syllabus
  • Provide students with detailed written instructions, including criteria for evaluation, for all formal writing assignments
  • Provide students with tools and strategies for effective writing and editing in the major
  • 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 to revise and resubmit at least one formal writing assignment
  • Require each student to individually compose at least 20 pages of writing for assessment 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 written assignments
  • Incorporate information literacy into learning outcomes, instruction, and assignments

 

* Proposals requesting approval for writing courses or upper-division writing experiences that do not meet the requirements should include justifications for these changes that address how learning outcomes will still be achieved.




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Revised Catalog Language for New Criteria

English Writing Competency

The ability to write effectively is fundamental to student success in their academic, professional, and civic endeavors. Specifically, a student should be able to:

  • Use writing to learn and synthesize new concepts;
  • Produce focused writing that is developed, logical, and organized;
  • Compose written documents that are appropriate for a given audience, purpose, and context;
  • Revise written documents based on constructive feedback;
  • Develop competence in information literacy, information technology and digital literacy;
  • Use discipline-specific style and citation conventions;
  • Demonstrate appropriate English language usage.

Students should satisfy the following four requirements in order:

  1. Composition course ( ENEX 101, WTS 101, ENEX 200 or an equivalent);
  2. One approved writing (W) course;
  3. The Upper-Division Writing Proficiency Assessment (WPA), to be taken between 45-70 credits;
  4. The upper-division writing requirement for the major.

Composition Course.   All students must complete ENEX 101, WTS 101, ENEX 200, or an equivalent composition course with a grade of C-minus or better.  Students with AP scores of 4 or better are exempted from this requirement.

Entering students are placed into WTS 100D, WTS or ENEX 101, or ENEX 200 based on their standardized test scores.  Students placed into WTS 100D are provided an opportunity to challenge their placement with specific scores.  Students placing into ENEX 200 may choose to take ENEX 101 instead.

One Writing Course. All students, unless exempted, must pass an approved writing course (chosen from the following list of approved courses) before attempting the WPA. Students are exempted from this requirement by transferring more than 27 semester credits at the time of their initial registration at the University.

Upper-Division Writing Proficiency Assessment (WPA). All students (including transfer students) who have completed the composition course requirement, the writing course requirement (unless exempted), and at least 45 semester credits must take the WPA. Students must pass the WPA in order to graduate. The Assessment is designed to ensure that the student is prepared for the writing required in upper-division major courses. Students are advised to satisfy the writing proficiency assessment prior to completing the upper-division writing requirement in their major.

Students should note the following:

  • Students must take the assessment after 45 but no later than 70 credits.
  • Transfer students may take the assessment concurrently with either their writing course or the writing requirement(s) in their major.

The WPA consists of a two-hour proctored examination written in response to a text released two weeks prior to the examination date. The assessment is offered six times annually. Information on the assessment and copies of the text are available at:
http://umt.edu/writingcenter/upperdivisionwritingproficiencyexam.htm

Upper-Division Writing Requirement. All students must meet the approved upper-division writing requirements specified in their majors.  Students should seek specific information about the upper-division writing requirements in their major in the section of the catalog where information about their chosen major is given. 

Students cannot use the same W course to meet both the approved writing course requirement and the upper-division writing requirement.

The following courses are designated as approved writing courses for 2009-2010. Students are cautioned that approved courses may change from year to year. To be used for General Education, a course must be listed as approved in the catalog and in the Class Schedule for the semester a student registers for it.

..........list of writing courses


Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

Missoula, MT 59812