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Pepperdine | Seaver College

Writing Intensive Course

Below you will find the catalog description of the Writing Intensive Requirement. 
When writing the syllabus for your major's course which will fulfill this requirement, please keep in mind:
  • writing intensive courses stress process (see bullet 3 below)
  • show that the course includes writing instruction as part of its course time. 

These two elements are a central part of what a writing intensive course should accomplish, and your syllabus should give a clear idea of how these elements are met in the course. Please also see the syllabus writing guidelines prepared by the Academic Affairs Committee.

Writing-Intensive Course (0)
Designed to develop discipline-specific ways of writing important for continuing study in the major, for careers, and for communication of discipline-specific knowledge to general audiences. This requirement should be fulfilled through writing-intensive courses in the student's major discipline.

Courses that fulfill the Writing-Intensive Course requirement: Each major has designated certain of its courses as writing-intensive. Please refer to major requirement listings.

In the Writing-Intensive course requirement, students will:

  • Use writing to improve learning of subject matter and promote the development of critical thinking. 
  • Learn discipline specific ways of thinking and communicating, including writing skills important for continuing study in the discipline, for careers, and for communicating discipline-specific knowledge to audiences outside the discipline. 
  • Improve writing processes, developing effective strategies for generating ideas, gathering information, drafting, revising, and editing. 

*** Please be sure your syllabus articulates your course's objectives for meeting these goals rather than reiterating only these goals.***

 Guidelines for Syllabus Preparation

Writing Intensive and Research Methods/Presentation Skills Requirements
(these guidelines were written by the Academic Affairs Committee in 2001-2 to aid GE syllabus writers, and they have been tailored specifically to the WI and RM/PS requirements)

In some places, these guidelines ask for somewhat more information than the instructor will actually include in the syllabus handed out to students; oftentimes, for example, instructors prefer to discuss with students or explain orally the details of their assumptions and expectations. For review purposes, however, it will immeasurably help the GE Committee if these items are spelled out in writing. Further, we understand that the syllabi submitted for review will be in the nature of model syllabi and may not be the exact syllabi finally presented to students, especially if more than one instructor will be responsible for sections of the course. Goals will be consistent from one section to another, objectives will be more variable, and readings and paper assignments may vary drastically. For review purposes, however, it will be helpful if all such items are included, in order to give us a fair idea of how the instructor contemplates carrying out his/her intentions.

In short, we hope to receive syllabi which are aimed at communicating to the GE Committee and the Seaver Academic Council a clear and full view of the instructors' goals, objectives, and means for accomplishing these, as well as their relation to the new General Studies Curriculum and the Pepperdine Christian Mission. We expect to keep approved sample syllabi on file for future reference in carrying out our responsibility of reviewing future courses. To this end, we have modeled our guidelines on the pamphlet Preparing Course Syllabi for Improved Communication by Lowther, Stark, and Martens, published by The National Center for Research to Improve Postsecondary Teaching and Learning. We are happy to receive and answer any questions that may trouble you in the preparation of these syllabi.

Please send completed syllabi as email attachments to BOTH your division chairperson and Erika Olbricht.

 Guidelines for Syllabi

  1. Basic information about the instructor and course. Instructor's full name and title, office location and telephone number, office hours, home telephone number (optional), e-mail address, and the like information concerning teaching assistant(s). Course title/number/credits, class meeting times and place, catalog description, prerequisites for the course, students for whom the course is intended. Since some of these items cannot be known until the course is actually scheduled, you might simply leave a space for them in the syllabus by putting the item in parentheses. Thus: (office hours).
  2. Course purpose, goals, and objectives. Course rationale, general course goals, specific objectives, relationship of course to general education requirements, including its place in a sequence, relationship of course to institutional mission. Particularly necessary in this section is an articulation of how the course meets the Writing Intensive and/or Research Methods/Presentation Skills requirements. Be sure to consult those requirements' goals. We distinguish here between goals of the course (such as the kind of knowledge or skills students are invited to learn) and the objectives of the course (such as the specific subject matter or kind of exercise the students will engage in). The objectives are the means to the goals. It will be essential to spell out the relationship of the course's goals and objectives to the goals and objectives of the new General Education requirements and the Pepperdine Christian Mission, since a review of these matters is paramount in the charge of this Committee.
  3. Content outline. Topic outline for course and sequencing of course content, rationale for course content and sequencing, definition of the discipline, the skills to be applied. By "definition of the discipline," we are asking whether the course is conceived primarily as teaching (for example) a mode of inquiry, a set of skills to be mastered, a set of skills to be applied, an interrelated set of interests and values, a set of objects or phenomena that humans have tried to explain, an organized body of knowledge, a set of interrelated concepts and operations.
  4. Student assignments and purpose. Readings (with approximate page numbers), papers (number, length, general description), required documentation style (if any), tests/quizzes, projects, laboratories, clinics, field experiences. Also include relationship of assignments to course goals and objectives. The readings and due dates for papers, tests, etc. may be combined with the topic outline in a calendar for a hypothetical semester.
  5. Textbooks. Title, author, edition, publisher. Include both required readings and recommended readings.
  6. Methods of instruction. Description of and rationale for instructional techniques, description of class format (lecture, lecture/discussion, seminar, etc.).
  7. Feedback to students. Grading system, including quizzes/tests, papers, attendance, class participation, questions. Include policies on assignments/tests/makeups, policies on attendance/incompletes.
  8. Learning facilities and resources for students, for example writing laboratory.