The Writing Skills (WS) requirement is to improve student writing proficiency across disciplines. Students in these courses will receive guidance on structure, style, argumentation, and other significant aspects of writing throughout the semester. This may be achieved through brief assignments spaced over the semester, sequenced assignments leading to a longer final paper, etc. WS courses may also include multiple drafts, peer review, conferences or class discussions designed to improve writing skills. (A course with a single long paper due at the end of the semester, but with no required or structured means of addressing writing issues, would not be considered a writing skills course.)
The primary function of the WS designation is to indicate that the course will provide consistent and ongoing feedback on students’ writing. Thus, the amount of writing should be substantial and well spaced, followed by timely evaluation and suggestions for improvement. Specifically, a WS course should require multiple assignments, each returned with comments which address writing problems and strategies, as appropriate. Because WS course instructors must pay attention to students’ writing skills as well as to their mastery of the content of the course, WS courses have a maximum enrollment of 19.
All students are required to take TWO WS courses: one by the end of sophomore year and one by the end of junior year. Students will benefit most from WS courses by taking them early in their college careers and are strongly encouraged to complete the requirement by the end of sophomore year.