What is it?
The WE Write for Success Program is an initiative designed to improve student skill in evidence-based writing. Starting with the fall of 2014, all freshman students are required to complete at least six writing enriched (WE) courses — a total of 17 credit hours — in order to graduate. WE courses are identified with a “W” in the course prefix.
Why did Lynchburg launch this initiative?
- It supports the mission of University of Lynchburg to develop students with strong character and balanced perspectives and to prepare them for engagement in a global society.
- It enables students to write effectively for different audiences by requiring that they take at least one WE course in their major field of study.
- It leads to better employment opportunities for Lynchburg students. An April 2013 report sponsored by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) found that 93% of the employers surveyed agreed that a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their major.
What are WE courses like?
- WE courses emphasize the development of students’ writing skills by using writing as a mode of learning and to address academic and professional audiences and purposes.
- WE faculty incorporate writing assignments into the course, provide timely feedback that encourages revision, and allow students the opportunity to revise papers based on that feedback.
- Students in WE courses will produce a total of at least 10 pages (approximately 2500 words) of evidence-based, polished prose over the course of the semester.
- Where appropriate, the writing assignments for the course develop students’ ability to find, evaluate, and incorporate outside source material into their writing.
How will this initiative be assessed?
- Individual faculty assess student writing in the context of their classes
- Independent assessment of papers collected from freshmen in their composition courses and from seniors in the Senior Symposium course
- Annual administration of the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), a widely used instrument that assesses students’ abilities to engage in analytic reasoning and writing effectiveness
- Annual administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), a widely used instrument that measures student engagement in the writing process
What support is there for students in WE courses?
- WE faculty provide instruction about the writing process and give students opportunities to practice elements of the process.
- Tutoring services are available through the Writing Center.
- Library staff and on-line support resources for locating evidence.
What support is there for faculty teaching WE courses?
- Ms. Judy Strang () serves as Writing Consultant for the project. She is available for individual consultations and works with Dr. Daniel Lang, QEP Director, to arrange workshops, brown bag lunches, and roundtable discussions for WE faculty.
- The Teaching and Learning Center provides regular faculty development seminars, workshops, and guest speakers.
- Faculty may use their own “professional development” funds to attend regional and national conferences, which may include focused attention on evidence-based writing.
- Experienced WE faculty mentors are available to collaborate with faculty colleagues.