Writing and Critical Inquiry

                          *Attention Academic Departments*
As of Fall 2014, Departments are responsible for incorporating into their majors certain academic competencies, including Advanced Writing. Please see the Resources for Faculty/Competencies in the Major section on this site for assistance in developing your proposals and the learning objectives for Advanced Writing: https://www.albany.edu/generaleducation/implementation-timetable.php


Writing and Critical Inquiry Program

In November 2012, The University Senate approved a plan that current General Education policies be revised to establish a required first-year writing seminar, Writing and Critical Inquiry (WCI). This seminar, U UNI 110, replaces the current lower-division Writing Intensive requirement for students matriculating in Fall 2013 and thereafter.

Students are expected to complete satisfactorily, with a grade of C or higher or S, Writing and Critical Inquiry by the end of their second semester at the University at Albany. In addition, students must meet advanced writing requirements as established by the department or program within which they are enrolled as a major.

Approved WCI and WCI- equivalent courses have characteristics so that students will:

WCI Program Learning Objectives

In WCI students will:

  1. approach writing as an individual process of textual production, a form of inquiry, and a social practice;
  2. apply rhetorical principles to assess various rhetorical situations and complete varied discipline-based writing tasks;
  3. develop competence in writing effectively for a variety of purposes, to different audiences, and in different media (including traditional, digital, and multi-media formats);
  4. develop awareness of the diverse, cultural, context-bound, and evolving nature of written English; and
  5. learn appropriate concepts and develop a lexicon for discussing and analyzing writing and writing situations.

General Education Learning Objectives

Students will:

  1. produce a variety of texts in common college-level forms and demonstrate the ability to revise and improve those texts;
  2. demonstrate proficiency in developing and evaluating oral presentations according to established criteria;
  3. identify, develop, analyze, and evaluate arguments as they occur in their own or others’ work;
  4. perform the basic operations of personal computer use;
  5. use basic research techniques to locate, evaluate, and synthesize information from a variety of sources in order to explore a topic.          

Any appropriate lower-division undergraduate course, including Honors College courses, may qualify as the equivalent of Writing and Critical Inquiry, provided that the course is approved as such by the General Education Committee and the Undergraduate Academic Council. Such courses must be similar in intent to Writing and Critical Inquiry and therefore must emphasize writing as an essential part of academic inquiry and provide students with opportunities for regular and sustained practice in writing in a variety of appropriate forms in different media, for appropriate purposes and audiences.

For additional information on the Writing and Critical Inquiry Program, visit: https://www.albany.edu/wci.

Writing Intensive

For students who matriculated prior to Fall 2013, students must satisfactorily complete with a grade of C or higher or S a Writing Intensive course. Writing Intensive courses use writing as an important tool in the discipline studied and are not designed primarily to teach the technical aspects of writing. The emphasis is on using writing as a means of sharpening critical thinking in and increasing understanding of the subject of the course.

Approved courses must meet each of the following four criteria:

  1. A Substantial Body of Finished Work: This is generally expected to be a total of 20+ double-spaced pages in at least two, preferably more, submissions. It may be in a variety of forms—journal, reports, essays, research papers, etc.—not all of which need to be graded;
  2. Opportunity for Students to Receive Assistance in Progress: Such assistance may take several forms, from visits to the Writing Center (HU 140) to conferences with the instructor;
  3. Opportunity to Revise Some Pieces: As revision is an essential characteristic of good writing, students should be able to revise some portion of their work;
  4. Response to Student Writing: Such response may take several forms—from extended comments from the instructor to peer evaluation in student groups. It is expected, however, that the instructor will respond in detail to some extended work of the student.

Note: Transfer students who enter the University with credit for an “English Composition” course or a two-semester combined literature and writing course will be considered to have completed the writing intensive requirement at this University.

Learning Objectives for Writing Intensive Courses

Students will:

  1. produce coherent texts within common college-level written forms;
  2. demonstrate the ability to revise and improve such texts;
  3. research a topic, develop an argument, and organize supporting details.