WI Course Approval Process

All WI courses must be approved by the Faculty Senate’s WAC Committee before they can be entered into the university’s course catalog with the WI designation. This page describes the process and provides relevant information concerning the development and submission of a WI course application.

Application Process

The process for developing a WI course and applying for the WI designation should really start with a broad conversation about the department’s goals for its student writers and the role and location of the WI course. These conversations might consider the following questions: 

    • What does ‘good writing’ in our discipline look like?
    • What, how, and why does a professional in our discipline write?
    • What should the students in our program be able to accomplish as writers upon graduation? 
    • How will we know that students can accomplish these goals?
    • What courses in the major program at all levels (100-400) feature rich writing experiences that develop their capacities to achieve these goals?
    • How do these writing-enriched courses complement and build on each other?
    • How might these courses work in sequence?
    • How will the WI course we wish to develop contribute to our department’s goals and complement other writing-enriched courses in our program?

After considering these questions, the process for developing a WI course typically follows these steps:

    • Articulate the purpose, goals, and curricular location of the course
    • Develop the course design and materials, including the syllabus, schedule, and assignments
    • Draft, assemble, and submit the WI application materials through CourseLeaf
    • Attend the WAC Committee meeting when your course is on the agenda, if possible
    • Resubmit any potential revisions requested by the Committee through CourseLeaf

Application Materials

In order to apply for the WI designation, departments must submit the following materials to the WAC Committee through CourseLeaf:

    • An overview narrative memo that describes the explicit writing instruction that takes place in the course and explains how the course and instruction satisfy both the WI criteria and the targeted WI learning outcomes chosen for the course;
    • A syllabus, with WI syllabus statement, WI course criteria, and targeted WI learning outcomes articulated explicitly on it;
    • A course schedule with writing instruction and writing assignments highlighted; and
    • Descriptions/instructions for the major writing projects (instructions for low stakes writing tasks are also appreciated).

Committee Expectations

When reviewing a course application, WAC Committee members will expect to see that the basic course criteria are satisfied. Additionally, members are particularly interested to see how the WI learning outcomes are supported by the instruction and assessed through the writing assignments. Some basic questions that members typically ask when reviewing a course include: 

    • What are the learning outcomes? 
    • How will the assessments (writing assignments) help faculty to know students have met the outcomes? 
    • How does the instruction develop students’ ability to meet the outcomes? 

Committee Schedule

The Committee typically meets six times a year, three times in the fall semester and three times in the spring semester. These meetings have not yet been scheduled for the upcoming academic year but tend to occur in early-to-mid October, early-to-mid November, early December, mid February, mid March, and mid-to-late April. To ensure a course receives a complete review, applications should be submitted about two weeks prior to a committee meeting.

Please email the WAC Program at wac@gmu.edu for updates regarding the WAC Committee’s schedule.


WAC Program staff are always happy to consult with faculty and departments about their course development and other concerns related to teaching with writing. Please email us at wac@gmu.edu if you would like to schedule a consultation.

Additional Resources on Course and Assignment Design