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Writing Intensive Courses


UNCG’s General Education Council defines Writing Intensive Courses as courses in which students regularly use writing, in class and in homework, to formulate, analyze, interpret, evaluate, process content, and engage with multiple perspectives on important questions and problems related to a particular subject or field of work. A key aim in any WI course is for students to learn to use multiple drafts of a paper to investigate and organize ideas, consider diverse points of view, and apply feedback from other readers in shaping the form and content of a final draft. A second key aim in any WI course is for students to receive instruction in writing processes and hands-on coaching in learning to write.

Writing Intensive Courses at UNCG

WI Courses: WI courses at UNCG must address the following student learning outcome: Students will be able to write in genres appropriate to the discipline(s) of the primary subject matter of the course. Guidelines for WI courses and the list of current WI courses at UNCG may be found at

University Writing Center: The University Writing Center is one of the Multiliteracy Centers here at UNCG, along with the Speaking Center and the Digital ACT Studio. The Writing Center offers UNCG students, staff, and faculty the opportunity for individual consultation at any stage of any writing project. Sessions are by drop-in or appointment, and writers are welcome to visit the Center as often as they’d like to work on any writing project. We offer one-on-one consulting in person and online about a variety of writing issues, from developing thesis statements and organization to citation styles and last-minute polishing. While most writers bring in papers they are writing for courses or degree programs, we also help with personal writing (application essays, cover letters, personal statements, personal letters, creative writing, etc.) and business writing (articles for publication, professional letters). Our goal is to help writers focus on what they want to accomplish in a piece of writing, read their own drafts with a more discerning and critical eye, and learn strategies for addressing a variety of writing concerns. The staff conducted over 7,000 sessions last year, and each one was different because each writer and each piece of writing is different.

Selected Research on WI Courses

  1. Wendy Strachan, Writing-Intensive: Becoming W-Faculty in a New Writing Curriculum (Utah State UP, 2008).
  2. John Bean, Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom (Jossey-Bass, 2001).
  3. Thomas Hilgers, Edna Lardizabal Hussey, and Monica Stitt-Bergh, “As You’re Writing, You Have These Epiphanies”: What College Students Say About Writing and Learning in Their Majors. Written Communication 16(3), 1999.
  4. John Ackerman, The Promise of Writing to Learn. Written Communication, 10(3), 1993.
  5. C Williams Griffin, Teaching Writing in All Disciplines (Jossey-Bass, 1982).