Professors at SUNY Cortland make a concerted effort to give writing a prominent role in the intellectual life of students. We accomplish this through writing intensive courses which concentrate on teaching the rhetoric and discourse conventions of disciplinary fields; through writing across the curriculum which emphasizes writing, especially informal writing, as a tool for students to learn course content and for faculty to accomplish course goals; and through portfolio assessment which enables departments to determine their students' understanding of the content of the discipline, their skill in using the patterns of inquiry of the discipline, and their competence in written expression. These projects have raised our awareness of the importance of writing and prompted us to require more practice and active participation from our students.
Cortland's Writing Program has brought the College recognition, accolades, and commendations from various organizations and faculty on other campuses. The writing-intensive course requirement and the requirement that writing be a part of all General Education courses ensure that Cortland students are doing far more writing than is customary at many colleges. Our attention to writing alerts new applicants, SUNY and the academic community at large that Cortland is a college where writing is a primary form of communicating and a vital tool for learning.
The purpose of this guide is to answer your questions about writing intensive courses and suggest ways that you can build writing into WI courses and into the other courses you teach. Some of your ideas are already represented. If you are willing to share course materials for teaching and assigning writing, send them along and I will have them copied and distributed to the faculty.
Many people have helped produce this guide. I warmly thank Jerry O'Callaghan, Syed Pasha, David Barclay and Michael Berzonsky for their contributions and the members of the College Writing Committee, past and present, for their many useful suggestions. I also thank Chuck Donovan for his painstaking formatting and editing.
Mary Lynch Kennedy