Apply for W or C
Course Approval

Words of Wisdom

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.

— Kurt Vonnegut

Proposed W and C courses are reviewed by the W & C Course Advisory Committee. This committee recommends action to the Faculty Senate, which in turn submits its decision to the university president for final approval.

Courses are approved for a period of four years. For example, courses approved in Fall 2022 expires in Fall 2026 and should be reviewed again no later than Fall 2025 for inclusion in the Fall 2026 Schedule of Classes. Courses that have expired will not be given W or C section numbers.

Although it is understood that courses may change somewhat before they require re-certification or may vary somewhat across sections, it is assumed that courses being taught as W or C generally meet or exceed the expectations set at the time the proposal is accepted. A summary of these expectations can be found in Approved W & C Courses and in the comments box in the CARS system. Courses taught under variable titles such as "Seminar" or "Research" (including 281, 481, 491, and 489) may be approved by title as well as number.

The writing or speaking components that should remain consistent are (1) writing or speaking assignments are appropriate to the major (2) number of words or minutes speaking, (3) percentage of the final grade based on writing or speaking, (4) type and amount of formative feedback, and (5) type and amount of instruction.

The types of assignments can vary as long as the percentage for which the assignments count toward course-credit and totals for assignment word-count or speaking-minutes remain what was approved. There should be no exams counted toward the W or C requirements unless they are take-home exams. Individual writing or speaking should meet the standards for the minimum requirement depending on course credit (e.g., for a 3-credit W course, 2000 words and 33% of the final grade based on writing; for a 3-credit C course, 1250 words and 5 minutes of speaking and 33% of the final grade based on speaking and writing).

To review more specifically what is expected for a particular course, contact your representative on the W and C Course Advisory Committee. The W & C Course Advisory Committee is responsible for clarifying W or C course requirements when necessary. Should the committee decide to reject a proposed course, it must provide appropriate recommendations to the proposer and invite re-submission

Note: The full approval process takes 2 to 4 months, depending on the number of proposals received, the speed at which questions are answered by proposers, and the date submitted. The W & C Course Advisory Committee and the Faculty Senate meet once a month. The Faculty Senate often does not meet in December or in August.

Submitting a Proposal for a W or C Course

The proposal must be submitted through a form in the Curricular Approval Request System (CARS) located in Howdy under the Employee tab. You will be asked to answer questions related to the course and required to attach the syllabus. Before you open the form, prepare as described below:

  1. Review the Checklist of W Course Requirements or the Checklist of C Course Requirements. You may also find the Rubric for W Courses or the Rubric for C Courses helpful.
  2. Optional but encouraged: Contact your representative on the W & C Course Advisory Committee to review the course or answer questions.
  3. Review what the form will ask and get a representative syllabus ready to attach. Blank W Course proposal forms and the blank C Course proposal forms are available as examples. The items to specify on the form  include the following:
    • typical enrollment per section and number of sections taught per year
    • appropriateness to the major
    • cross listings
    • type and number of assistants (such as graduate teaching assistants or undergraduate peer educators) and how they are monitored and supervised. These all count, in addition to the instructor(s), toward the instructor-to-student ratio. In cases where a ratio above 1 instructor to 25 students is proposed, the committee will ask for compelling evidence that it will not adversely affect the quality of feedback.
    • a list of all required, graded writing assignments (and, if applicable, speaking assignments) and the percentage of the course grade for which each counts. For finished products you will need to specify the number of words (or minutes of speaking); Also, you will need to specify which assignments, if any, are collaborative. Note that collaborative assignments are allowed only on a  grandfathered basis.
    • a description of formative feedback on writing (and, if a C course, for speaking)
    • a description of instruction for writing (and. if a C course, for speaking) 
  4. Submit the request through CARS (located in Howdy under the Employee tab). For help with CARS, consult the CARS Instructions or contact the secretary for the W & C Course Advisory Committee at
  5. If the course already exists, find it in CARS and begin the proposal process by selecting the Core, ICD, or W & C form. For a new course, start with the Core, ICD, or W & C form. When you submit the form, it will be routed through the correct channels, from the department head to the Dean, to the Chair of the W & C Course Advisory Committee.
  6. Check that the submitted syllabus supports how you answer the questions in CARS. The syllabus should conform to the Faculty Senate's minimum syllabus requirements. It is assumed that course syllabi approved as W or C will be representative of all sections of that course taught to fulfill the W or C graduation requirement in regard to assignments related to the W or C component, instruction for the W or C components, and percentage of the grade related to the W or C components.

Once your proposal is submitted, the W & C Course Advisory Committee Chair will bring it before the W & C Course Advisory Committee. A subcommittee of the W & C Course Advisory Committee will review your proposal. Any questions will be routed to you through the Chair. Once the subcommittee believes that the proposal is ready to approve, it will recommend it be placed on the W & C Course Advisory Committee consent agenda for approval by the whole committee. If you prefer meeting with the committee in person, request a spot on the agenda from the Chair. If your proposal is rejected, the committee will provide a timely explanation and suggestions for revision and re-submission.

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