Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Propose a WR Course

Beginning with the class of 2009, all Yale College students are required to take two courses that focus on writing clearly and cogently. Courses that fulfill this requirement are designated WR in the YCPS. Rather than host these courses in a separate writing program, Yale’s requirement is distributed throughout the curriculum. Currently over 200 courses, spanning more than 45 different academic departments, may be applied toward the WR requirement. From the Writing Center’s perspective, the ideal outcome would be for every department to host one or more WR courses, so that students can learn the principles of writing and thinking in a discipline directly from their departmental faculty. If writing assignments are already a central part of your teaching, please join us. The guidelines below describe ways to make writing a more conscious goal of your teaching, usually without major changes to your syllabus. And if writing assignments have not formerly been a central part of your teaching, we encourage you to revise one of your courses or to work with us to develop a new one. We urgently want students to have opportunities for writing in all disciplines. To help faculty incorporate writing into their courses, we are committed to providing training, materials, support for TFs, and tutoring resources.

To propose adding the WR designation to a course, please send an email to Alfred Guy, the R.W.B. Lewis Director of the Writing Center (alfred.guy@yale.edu); include the information listed below. Please also contact Dr. Guy if you have questions or need more information about proposing a WR course—or if you’re already teaching one, but have comments and suggestions.

WR Course Proposals



Course Name and Number:

When was the course last taught?

(Note: All new courses must still be submitted to the Course of Study Committee first)

Estimated number of students:

Pre-requisites or restrictions:

Choose one: Seminar, Lecture w/Sections, Other

In 2-3 paragraphs, please describe how the course meets the WR guidelines listed below.

Guidelines for WR courses

Courses that fulfill the writing requirement will normally include the following elements.

*A total of 15-25 pages of graded writing required for the semester.

*2 or more graded writing assignments.

*Instructor feedback on writing, with opportunities to put suggestions into practice.

*Time spent teaching writing in class throughout the semester.

*Writing assignments that count, cumulatively, for 25% or more of the final course grade.

*WR Seminars limited to 20 students; WR sections led by TFs limited to 15 students.

In these guidelines “writing” means both style and substance. The College has designed the WR requirement to integrate teaching writing and teaching subject matter in our courses; we honor this integration by teaching students not only to write better prose, but also to argue well, work with evidence, and explore problems appropriate to our subjects. In teaching students to write, we teach them to create knowledge and to communicate effectively.

These are guidelines, not a checklist of required elements. WR course proposals should include an explanation of how the course is suitable to the requirement, and the Writing Committee is eager to consider courses that approach these elements creatively. Please note that Teaching Fellows for WR lecture courses must be trained by the Writing Center and will normally be permitted to teach only one section per term.