|St. Norbert College Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Program
Writing is integral to the liberal arts curriculum at St. Norbert College. To write is to think, to learn, to discover, to create, to express. To write is to participate in the world--locally and globally.
St. Norbert College's writing-across-the-curriculum program is grounded in the following beliefs
• Writing facilitates effective learning.
• Writing is a complex process involving creating, shaping, drafting, revising, and editing.
• Writing encompasses a variety of written forms and an awareness of diverse audiences.
• Writing is most effectively taught in content-specific courses.
Since writing is essential to learning in the classroom and to communicating in the world at large, students need to master their writing skills and take responsibility for their written work. Students have an obligation to their academic community to perform their best on all written assignments. Consequently, every written assignment a student submits to an instructor must be guided by the following principles:
Respect for the subject
Students should engage the course material on an intellectual level, demonstrating a respect for the integrity of subject material. Thus written work must reflect that respect for the subject by displaying that the writer has honestly and sensitively explored the subject and presented it in an intelligent and well- organized form. Such respect also means that students will be careful not to plagiarize.
Respect for the reader
Students should demonstrate that they respect the values and concerns of their readers. Thus written work should address the needs of its audience, which include an intelligent, coherent, and grammatically correct presentation of information; a use of unbiased language to avoid sexist or other pejorative rhetoric; and an awareness, and tolerance of alternative viewpoints.
Respect for language
Students should join the discourse community of the course and present written work that reflects an understanding of and respect for the conventions of that community. Thus written work should use the proper language (or terminology) of the course, the proper format, and the proper documentation style.
Respect for fellow students
Students should respect their fellow students as writers. Thus students have an obligation to turn in their assignments on time (since instructors often respond to essays only after all are submitted), to keep library sources available to classmates, respond constructively to fellow students' written drafts when working collaboratively, and to turn in only original written work.
Respect for self
Students should take pride in and ownership of their writing. They will assume personal responsibility for all elements of their written work by recognizing that their writing is a reflection of their selves.
In order to address the above concerns, it becomes imperative that students devote energy to all stages of the writing process- planning, shaping, writing, revising, editing, and proofreading. The final written product is the natural reflection of the writing process and must follow standard writing conventions:
Higher order concerns: logical organization which reflects a clear focus and solid content as defined by the assignment; coherent, unified, and detailed paragraphs which support overall focus; appeal to specific audience.
Lower order concerns: grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and usage; varied sentence structure; deliberate diction; graceful and effective transitions; other elements of style.
Students who need further help refining their writing have an obligation to see their instructor for help, use the college writing guide-currently The Wadsworth Handbook (latest edition)-and use the various support services at St. Norbert, especially The Writing Center, a free tutoring service available to all St. Norbert students.
Instructors have the right and the obligation not to accept written work that fails to meet adequately the above college writing conventions. Note: The above writing conventions apply to formal, revised writing, not necessarily to informal, writing-to-learn exercises (including journal writing).
Note on Plagiarism: All students must abide by the Academic Honor Code, which defines the obligations students and instructors have toward the academic community. Students are also responsible for understanding the parameters of the writing criteria defined by each course and instructor.
This statement is taken from the St. Norbert College Catalog. Link here for further information about writing in the General Education program.
Lower Biennium Courses
All general education courses in the lower biennium will have a writing dimension, which includes writing-to-learn exercises, essay exams, and a formal out-of-class writing assignment. These writing requirements must be described in the course syllabus.
Courses should promote the concept of writing-to-learn and focus on the writing process as a means to understanding course content. Possible writing-to-learn exercises include:
• Note taking and reflection
• journal writing
• directed writing in class or outside of class
• mini- or microthemes
• informal writing to begin class; as transitions in class; to end class; as outside class activity
• written quizzes
Every exam should have at least one essay question that requires students to write a paragraph or more explaining concepts, making connections, synthesizing material, arguing a thesis, etc. Though instructors are urged to incorporate an essay component on every exam, they may modify this component to meet particular exam needs.
Formal Out-of-Class Writing Assignment
Every course should require students to write a minimum of two typed pages of formal writing that demonstrates their general writing ability: thesis development, organization, paragraphing, grammar, mechanics, etc. Instructors should guide students through the writing process, providing feedback as students work toward the finished product. Possible activities include collecting thesis statements, requiring formal or informal outlines, using peer review, requiring students to work with tutors in the Writing Center, using Writing Assistants in the classroom, providing feedback on drafts, conducting peer review workshops in class, conferencing with students about their writing, implementing a revision policy for essays. Possible writing assignments include:
• response essays
• book reviews
• case studies
• lab reports
Students will be expected to use the college writing guide-currently The Wadsworth Handbook (latest edition)--as the writing guide for lower biennium courses.
Lower Biennium Writing-Intensive Courses
All lower biennium W courses will require students to compose a minimum of 3,000 words of polished writing for the semester. Instructors will provide systematic attention to the writing process by guiding students through the various stages of the process. Suggestions for integrating the writing process into courses include: requiring students to submit thesis statements, outlines, and other planning documents for review; providing written feedback on student drafts; conducting peer review in the classroom; using Writing Assistants in the classroom.
In addition, students should be guided in their writing by the following:
• Students should be asked to write at least four out-of-class essays (totaling 3,000 words for the semester); one essay should be a documented research essay. Instructors should provide students with detailed written assignments defining due dates, audience for essay, format of essay, evaluation criteria, and other concerns.
• Assignments should be sequenced so students move from basic to more complex writing situations, which demand increasingly complex rhetorical skills. Recommendation: sequence assignments to move from the personal (expressive writing close to the self), to the informational (writing concentrating on the subject or message), to the persuasive (writing emphasizing audience).
• Students should be given a general introduction to academic library research and writing and be required to incorporate secondary sources from the library (which may include journal and magazine articles, newspaper articles, book chapters, and government documents) in a documented essay using the appropriate documentation style for the course (as determined by the instructor). Instructors should address the purposes of academic research and the legitimate ways to use research materials.
• Instructors should concentrate in class on the higher order concerns about writing-content, organization, audience, research, etc.-and address lower order concerns-grammar and mechanics, for example-individually with students as these problems pertain to specific writing assignments. Instructors should refer students with basic writing problems to The Writing Center.
• Students should be allowed to revise at least one essay for a better grade at the discretion of the instructor. Recommendation: to ensure that students put effort in all stages of the draft, instructors should hold students accountable for the initial draft by requiring peer review, Writing Center review, use of Writing Assistant draft response, or by incorporating the performance of the first draft into final grade for the assignment. Only those students who have a quality draft should be allowed to revise.
Students will be expected to use the college writing guide-currently The Wadsworth Handbook (latest edition)-as the writing guide for the college, and they will be urged to use The Writing Center tutoring services and the Writing Assistants (if part of the class).
Upper Biennium Courses
All upper biennium general education courses will require students to compose a minimum of 2,000 words of polished writing for the semester. These requirements must be described in the course syllabus. Instructors will provide guidance throughout the course by following these guidelines:
• Assignments should be sequenced and require students to advance to more complex thinking and writing skills as the semester progresses.
• If instructors require students to do primary and secondary research, then they should require students to use the methods and documentation style appropriate to the nature of the course.
• If instructors assign one research or term paper at the end of the semester, the following procedure should be followed: for longer projects, instructors should sequence shorter writing assignments that build up to the final research project, thus insuring that students received substantive feedback on their writing.
Students will be expected to use the college writing guide-currently The Wadsworth Handbook (latest edition)-as the writing guide for the upper biennium courses, particularly the sections "Writing with Sources" and "Writing in the Disciplines."
Though the General Education curriculum is designed to guide students through the writing process, each major and interdisciplinary major should address writing in that particular field of study, thus reinforcing the writing instruction given in the lower and upper biennium courses, and tailoring the writing instruction to majors.
Since writing is an essential skill in every academic field, and since each field has its own specific writing and researching conventions, it is vital that students be taught discipline-specific writing by experts in the field. Such a writing emphasis may be accomplished by a specific course or by a series of courses addressing writing within the major. Such a course (or courses) should do the following:
• Teach students the discourse in the community by requiring them to write the kind of documents that professionals actually write for that discipline (whether academic writing, practical writing, or some combination). While the final written product is important, instructors should guide students through the writing process.
• Require students to become familiar with the materials professionals use in their field of study. Instructors should provide an overview of the specialized research methods, bibliographical research sources and materials, documentation style, and document formats appropriate to the major and field of study. Such materials include primary and secondary sources: students should be required to read primary works beyond textbook presentations; students should be required to work with secondary research sources appropriate to the field of study.
• Encourage students to work collaboratively whenever appropriate. Recommendations: students can work in peer review groups and/or research and write collaborative research reports.
The discipline should meet as a group and determine the criteria for courses that address the writing needs of discipline majors. Disciplines are encouraged to consult the Writing Program Director as they design their writing-emphasis course(s).
|Writing Support Services
The Writing Center
The Writing Center, located in the Mulva Library, is a tutorial writing center available to all St. Norbert College students at no charge. Student peer tutors from across the disciplines, trained in the techniques of one-to- one tutoring of the writing process, can help students at every level of the writing process: discovering ideas, developing ideas and thesis statements, organizing, revising, and editing. Tutors can also work with students systematically on personal writing needs: paragraphing, sentence structure, style, grammar, mechanics, and usage. Note: The Writing Center tutors do not proofread essays. Drop-in and appointment hours are available; you may book an appointment online as well