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Teaching a WIM course

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Writing in the Major (WIM) courses provide students with opportunities to develop writing skills in the context of their major fields. At Stanford, WIM is a crucial part of the process of teaching undergraduates to write effectively in discipline-specific formats and styles.

Getting your course certified as a WIM course

A course must be approved by the WRR Governance Board to be certified as a WIM course. Prior to submitting a course proposal to the WRR Governance Board, faculty should discuss the course with the Department Chair and/or WIM Chair. WIM proposals should be submitted the academic year before the course will be taught.  The PWR faculty director and program director are available for consultation on the preparation of the proposals and can advise faculty on the expectations of the Governance Board. 

WIM courses

  • require a substantial amount of writing, with assignments sequenced to build on each other to expand students’ understanding of writing in the field 
  • schedule writing at regular intervals throughout the quarter via multiple short papers and/or assigning a larger project in stages; a single major writing assignment should have clearly-articulated parts
  • emphasize the process of rewriting, with individualized feedback and coaching from the instructor/TA 
  • devote attention to specialized standards of writing through the use of examples of strong writing in the field
  • draw on the conventions of writing in several areas of study when designed for students in IDPs, giving students practice in meeting the complex challenges of working across traditional disciplinary boundaries for a range of audiences and purposes
  • integrate writing concerns into classroom activities 
  • are situated in the overall curriculum of the major to contribute most effectively to students' training in the field; WIM courses placed early in the major will orient students to the standards of writing in the field and should lead to additional writing experiences later in the major, while WIM courses placed late in the major should challenge students to work at a sophisticated level based on their earlier courses and writing experiences

Notes to faculty preparing WIM course proposals

In the proposal form, the faculty member should provide the Governance Board with full descriptions of the writing assignments, their placement in the syllabus and relationship to each other, the instruction and feedback elements built into the assignments, and the way assignments grow out of course materials.  The syllabus should be uploaded with the proposal. For a new course, this may be a syllabus draft. The syllabus need not have as much detail as the proposal but should make clear to the students the way in which this course prepares them to write in their discipline.  The Board also recommends that the syllabus include a description of the support available through the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking.

Timeline:

  • Fall -- WRR Board meets to review WIM proposals
  • Winter -- WRR Board meets to review WIM proposals
  • Spring -- Call to departments for new WIM proposals for the upcoming AY
                   WRR Board meets to review WIM proposals

Propose a WIM course now!