About the University Writing Program

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About the University Writing Program

Message From the Director of Writing

The UWP strives to be a research-based writing program that offers students researching, reading, and writing experiences that can help them in their lives today as critical citizens and tomorrow in their chosen educational and career paths. I believe the most important thing to know about our writing program, from the first-year writing experience to the upper division writing requirement (the W course), is that our program promotes work by students and teachers around processes of critical reading and writing, ones that confront the problems that literacies and the judgment of literacy opens up to diverse people communing together.

The program is not interested in blindly promoting a single standard by which writing might be taught or evaluated in classrooms, as doing so can too easily reproduce in classrooms unfair and unequal hierarchies one can see in society. These language-based hierarchies are too often called by other names (“clarity,” “accuracy,” “correctness,” “grammatical,” etc.), thus ignoring or downplaying larger structural problems that are created by these ways of judging language (especially versions of English). Instead I encourage those who teach writing to look to explore the various ways language and other symbolizing that is used to communicate and make meaning among people can be questioned, challenged, rethought, and even changed in the local contexts of classrooms. This means I see teaching writing at all levels as an exchange between student and peers, student and teacher, and student and other readers who are perhaps outside the classroom. Finally, to help enhance teaching and learning, the UWP promotes and supports research on student writing and teaching by UWP faculty. 


First Year Writing (FYW)

UW Tacoma's Writing Program is made up of First Year Writing (FYW) and Upper Division ("W") courses. Students who enter into the FYW program will place themselves using Directed Self Placement (DSP). Students identify which freshman writing track they feel most comfortable taking by completing a brief reading and writing exercise, filling out a questionnaire centered on the student's reading and writing interests, goals, and experiences, and discussing their options with an academic advisor.  The different writing tracks for FYW are listed in the chart below. 

Single Quarter Stretch: Two Quarter Stretch Plus: Two Quarter Plus Studio
TWRT 120
TWRT 120
TWRT 121
TWRT 111


Upper Division Writing ("W")

Moving beyond FYW, students must complete 2 more Upper Division Writing courses before graduation, one within their major discipline(s) and one of their choosing. 

Writing Across the Curriculum Committee (WAC)

The UWP also includes the Writing Advisory Committee (WAC). The writing advisory committee is a university-wide committee, ideally composed of faculty and staff from all corners of the university who care about the teaching and learning of writing. The committee advises the Director of the UWP in all matters concerning writing on campus.