Student F.A.Q.

If you have a question that’s not answered here or on this website, please contact the Director of Campus Writing, Dr. Traynor Hansen.

The course catalogue lists so many sections of WRI 1000 and WRI 1100.  How different are the requirements for each course?

All sections of 1000 and 1100 have the same standards and the same course outcomes.   By the end of the quarter, students will have written 16-20 pages of final draft prose, with much revision along the way.  That said, each section will look different; an instructor might choose to have students write three four-page papers with a six-page final paper.  Or an instructor might require five three-page papers with an extra one-page somewhere along the way, or a ten-pager with two shorter papers.  Look over sample syllabi from WRI 1000 and 1100 to get a sense of how each instructor runs the course, talk to other students, or email the professor directly.  Many would be happy to share a syllabus with you.

How do I choose which section of WRI 1000 or 1100 to take?

Look over the course offerings for both WRI 1000 and 1100.  These will be updated each quarter before registration.  Some students choose a course based on the subject matter or the instructor or the discipline.  All courses will do the same amount of reading and writing, though the assignments and readings themselves will vary from section to section.

Who needs to take these courses?  Do I need both? 

Starting with students entering under the 2016-2017 catalogue, all incoming students will take both WRI 1000 and 1100.  The reason is because writing is the foundation of education.  Regardless of your discipline or major, writing is one of the primary ways we participate in the conversations of our fields. You’ll not only learn to read and write complex texts, you’ll learn to inquire critically into the political, social, cultural, and rhetorical contexts that shape all communication.  After taking both WRI 1000 and 1100, you’ll have the skills necessary to succeed in all your other coursework at Seattle Pacific University.

Does this class count for W credits toward the Writing Requirement? 

No.  WRI 1000 and 1100 are to be taken your first year at SPU.  They lay the foundation for the W courses you’ll take your junior and senior years.

If I have AP / IB / Cambridge Exam / CLEP credit in English Language or Composition, do I need to take WRI 1000? 

Yes.  While such college preparatory courses are valuable, WRI 1000 teaches particular habits of mind unique to, and necessary for, academic writing.  You’ll find that your AP course (or IB, or Cambridge exam) will prepare you well for WRI 1000, and that WRI 1000 will take your writing to the next step in both clarity and complexity of thought.

I did a lot of writing in high school and got really good grades (and high scores on the SAT / ACT).  Do I really need both these courses?  Can I take a test to prove my writing skills? 

Even though you may have done well in your high school courses and may have also done well on the SAT / ACT, you will still need to take WRI 1000 and 1100.  Writing in high school is fundamentally different than the writing you’ll do in college, and while those courses are a good preparation for college-level writing, they simply aren’t the same as college-level writing.

If I transferred in an English composition class, do I still need any of the WRI classes?  How do I know which one? 

This is a question your adviser will be able to answer.

Do I have to take a WRI 1100 in my major? What if I don’t know what my major is? 

No.  You can take whatever section, on whatever subject, taught by whatever professor you like.  All sections of 1000 and 1100 work from the same outcomes and standards, so while subject matter differs from section to section,  the course itself is consistent.  That said, if you are interested in a particular subject or major, by all means take that section course.

What courses are 1000 and 1100 prerequisites for?

WRI 1000 is a prerequisite for 1100.  After that, WRI 1100 is a prerequisite for many other upper-division courses.  Talk with your adviser for specifics concerning your major.

Who teaches these courses?

WRI 1000 and 1100 are taught primarily by tenure-track professors at SPU.  We believe it’s important for first-year students in particular to have close interaction in a seminar-style classroom with our faculty.  The faculty teaching in The Writing Program are all experts in their respective fields, publishing in those fields and beyond.

What will I be reading in these courses?

All sections of 1000 and 1100 will use Andrea Lunsford’s Let’s Talk.  Instructors are free to supplement with whatever readings they prefer.  See the sample syllabi for 1000 and 1100 to get a sense of what various sections have read and are reading.

How much will I have to write, and how much will I have to read?

All sections of 1000 and 1100 write 16-20 pages of final draft prose by the end of the quarter, and they all read a maximum of 75 pages of assigned reading per week.  See the course standards for more information.

What are the grading standards for these courses?

The Writing Program sets a higher standards for writing than you’ve probably experienced before.  It’s not uncommon for papers that might have earned an A in high school to be considered no better than a C in college.  Here’s how the Writing Program defines each grade level:

A = superior attainment
B = meritorious attainment
C = adequate attainment
D = minimal attainment
E = insufficient attainment, no credit

Note that “meritorious” means commendable or praiseworthy:  a B, in other words, reflects a well-written paper, not an average result.  You must earn a C- in both courses to receive credit and advance to the next course (i.e., to move from WRI 1000 to WRI 1100, or to move from WRI 1100 to satisfy the WRI requirement).

Why do these courses put so much emphasis on revision?

Writers learn most through revision.  Revision is an opportunity to step back and assess the work that’s been done, to add, subtract, and rearrange, to figure out what this project really is about.  There is a unique higher-level thinking that happens when a writer revises, and good writing (and good thinking) take time to develop, to mature, to ripen.  And so, in 1000 and 1100, you’ll be asked to revise your work regularly.  Revision isn’t a punishment, nor is it a sign that the writing is bad.  Rather, it’s the space where writing instruction takes place.  The most important questions we ask in The Writing Program all work toward revision: What this writer’s project, does it work, and what is the next step?

How many times can I miss class?  What about late assignments?  What is plagiarism?

Answers to all these questions can be found in Course Policies.

What on-campus resources are available to help me in these courses?

The Research, Reading, & Writing Studio offers help at any stage of the writing process, whether you are just beginning your project, have a draft together, or are putting on the final touches.  For focused attention to your research, see the disciplinary librarians at Ames.  And for study strategies and other academic support, see the Center for Learning.

What provisions can be made for a student with a disability?

SPU provides a variety of services for eligible students with disabilities.  Any student with a documented physical, medical, psychological, or learning disability can schedule an interview with a staff member at Disability Support Services to determine the level of accommodation needed.  Contact Disability Support Services, in Lower Moyer Hall, for more information. 206-281-2272 or TTY: 206-281-2224.

If English isn’t my first language, how can I be sure that I’m adequately prepared for this class? 

This is a hard question to answer, because every student is unique.  The best way to prepare for WRI 1000 and 1100 is to read and write often.  The more time you spend in the language, the more familiar it will become.  Starting fall 2016, SPU will have at least one staff member at the Research, Reading, & Writing Studio who specializes in working with multilingual writers.  The Center for Learning is also an excellent resource for study skills, academic preparation, and managing college coursework.