The Culture of Writing

W3. Writing in The Discipline

The W3 requirement advances the larger program goals of persuasive analysis, flexible thinking, responsible inquiry, and effective expression into each department and major, focusing attention on the methods and modes of writing and critical thinking specific to a discipline or major field of study. The W3 requirement helps students to build on the knowledge and skills learned in W1 and W2 and to transition to the culminating W4 Senior Capstone Experience. While continuing to work on all four elements of writing, the W3 advances student writing by developing the rhetorical knowledge and experience needed to write for audiences and purposes specific to disciplinary contexts.

Learning Goals (for Students)

  • Critical Thinking: the ability to raise questions and identify problems related to particular subjects or situations and to make thoughtful decisions based on that analysis, through writing, reading, and research;

  • Writing Process: the ability to use appropriate strategies for generating, developing, composing, and revising writing and research;
  • Rhetorical Knowledge: the ability to analyze and act on understandings of audiences, purposes, and disciplinary contexts in creating and comprehending texts;
  • Knowledge of Conventions: an awareness of the formal guidelines, ranging from matters of grammar and style to conventions of research and documentation that define what is considered to be correct and appropriate to writing in a particular discipline or context.

Requirements (for Faculty)

  1. Each department or program will take responsibility for integrating the learning goals and requirements associated with the W3 at the most appropriate and effective place within the major: in a single course, a sequence of courses, or curricular assignments that might exist outside of a course. Given the focus of the W3 on more advanced levels of discipline-based writing that leads toward the SCE, the W3 must advance beyond the introductory level.
  2. The W3 (unlike the W2) does not necessarily require three distinct writing experiences; the discipline-based focus on research could well entail one larger project worked on during a seminar and/or semester. Nevertheless, the writing experience of the W3, however defined by the department or program, must engage all four elements of the Writing Program goals. Departments /programs are encouraged to consult with the Director of Writing as they adapt existing curriculum or develop new curriculum to serve the W3.
  3. An indication of how the W3 requirement is met by all students should be included in the department’s assessment plan and reported to the Registrar.
  4. The assessment of the W3 requirement will be conducted by the department as part of its regular assessment of the major.
  5. A W2 course may not also serve for or towards the W3 requirement of a department or program.