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Join WEC

The innovative Writing-Enriched Curriculum Program is currently enrolling undergraduate departments into its 16th cohort. To apply, faculty representatives are invited to submit a Letter of Interest no later than February 1, 2020.

That date may seem a long way off but we'll begin reviewing applications as they come in. Also, most participants have found it useful to hold preliminary discussions about the project in fall semester faculty meetings. In mid-February, three departments/programs will be selected to begin the process (thus joining the 60 departments already involved). Faculty activity will begin in Fall 2020.

In addition, you're encouraged to check out pertinent items from WEC program's FAQ document, particularly questions #11 (Why do units enroll in the WEC Program?); #13 (What kind of time commitment is expected)?; and #14 (Is anyone available to talk to faculty about WEC prior to the application deadline?) Additional questions may be addressed to wac@umn.edu.

Brief Program Description

Since 2006, the WEC Program has continued to provide fiscal and instructional support to integrating effective and discipline-relevant writing and writing instruction into undergraduate curricula. The WEC process provides a method by which faculty members collectively identify the kinds of thinking they expect students in their majors to demonstrate in writing. They also identify the kinds of support they feel they need in order to help students develop these writing abilities. Ultimately these discussions generate content for the unit's Writing Plan, which is then collaboratively implemented. To date, assessment of student writing in WEC units shows us that creating and implementing Writing Plans can significantly increase the efficacy of student writing.

Incentives for becoming involved in the WEC project include fiscal support for writing instruction, customized instructional support, collection and delivery of student writing samples, ongoing writing assessment, multiple forms of assessment data that can be put to use in accreditation application processes, and a set of discussions that have been described as rejuvenating, lively, and formative.

Where does WEC work? Here is a small sampling of answers provided by enrolled departments in Writing Plans.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Faculty participation in the WEC self-study process identified a broad recognition that ECE students are evaluated most heavily on technical knowledge. Furthermore, there was agreement that writing and communication skills are of critical importance in industry, often providing significant career advancement opportunities. Our students get opportunities to exercise these writing skills in senior design, but often it comes too late in the curriculum. During the first year of implementation, the faculty will meet to review current writing assignments and identify additional areas within the curriculum to improve instruction of writing… 

Art History

These efforts have already been enormously beneficial. At the most fundamental level, they have raised writing instruction to prominence in faculty discussions about curriculum, pedagogy, and undergraduate advisement. They have provided a mechanism for reviewing and sometimes revising habits and procedures that had become obscured over time. Significantly, they have also increased awareness among our community of majors about our goals and expectations for writing in the discipline.     

Geography, Environment, and Society

The Department of Geography, Environment, and Society (GES) encompasses a broad array of topics and sub-fields, which translates into a tremendous variety in written projects. In the face of such diversity, we created a writing plan that aids students, staff, and faculty in undergraduate learning.

Theatre Arts and Dance

The Department of Theater Arts and Dance initially embraced the WEC pilot as an opportunity to articulate the unifying principles of our respective disciplines…. We wanted to help students see continuity between different dimensions of their undergraduate experience, in particular between their academic and artistic pursuits. To do so, we have developed a capacious definition of writing, extending beyond the verbal (to corporeal intelligence, and visual or spatial literacy, for example). We see writing as a medium in which the creative process can be explored, extended, enriched, refined, complicated, communicated, documented, and critiqued. 

Enrollment-Application Process

Units interested in applying to participate in our 16th cohort can submit a Letter of Interest. Letter of Interest forms are due February 1, 2020, but can be sent in now (the earlier the better). Cohort 16 units will initiate preliminary activity in Spring 2020 in preparation for creating Writing Plans during AY 2020-2021.

Pamela Flash, WEC Program Director, is happy to attend a faculty meeting to provide a brief overview of the WEC process and answer questions.  Questions may also be addressed to wac@umn.edu.