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WAC at CUNY began with the 1999 Board Resolution endorsing the centrality of writing to a university education and calling for the integration of writing across the curriculum.

Writing Intensive Courses as a Graduation Requirement

All entering freshmen and transfer students must take TWO Writing Intensive (WI) courses to graduate. Writing Intensive courses taken at other colleges may be counted toward this requirement. Any course offered for college credit in the BCC catalog may be designated as Writing Intensive. The pre- and/or co-requisites for the WI sections will be identical to the pre- and/or co-requisites for non-WI sections of such courses, as listed in the BCC catalog. Students may take any designated WI course as their first selection. However, it is recommended that WI courses have at least a pre- or co-requisite of English 02 and/or RDL 02. Further, it is recommended that students take their second WI course after completing or while taking English 11.

Definitions and Criteria

A course section designated as Writing Intensive is a section of a course, in which there are both formal and informal writing assignments. WI courses, which are taught by faculty who have been trained in WAC techniques, include writing-to-learn activities such as journals, self-assessments, and brief, low-stakes essays as well as graded formal papers.

  1. Students will write formal papers comprising a total of at least 12 pages (approximately 3,000 words).
    • This total may include some short papers and a longer paper, which should be assigned in stages. The assignments will reflect writing appropriate to the discipline.
    • Papers will be assigned in a way that develops students’ writing competence through a process of drafting and revision, with individual feedback on the work in progress.
  2. Reading, critical thinking, and writing-to-learn activities will be part of the course throughout the semester. Writing-to-learn activities may include paraphrasing, summarizing, recapitulating main points of a class, etc.
  3. Course grades will be based in significant part on assignments requiring the students to produce written work, such as essays, lab reports, book reviews, or research papers. At least one quarter of the course assignments that count towards the final grade will involve writing. Essays written out of class may fulfill this requirement, and it is also desirable that class tests require some paragraph or essay answers instead of consisting wholly of multiple choice or other short-answer questions.
  4. The writing intensive objectives of the course will be incorporated into the syllabus.
  5. Course enrollment will be capped at 22.

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