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Writing Enriched Curriculum

At Smith, we believe writing is a crucial tool in all disciplines and that, as experts in their field, faculty are ideally positioned to teach it across the curriculum. Teaching students how to convey knowledge and communicate effectively is an essential capacity that will serve them both in and beyond the classroom.

About the Writing Enriched Curriculum

Smith adopted the Writing Enriched Curriculum (WEC) program in fall of 2019 as part of a grant funded by the Davis Educational Foundation, and individual departments undertook the task of rethinking and redesigning their curricula to better support students within their fields. 

The Committee on Writing and Public Discourse revised the WEC process in 2024 to adapt it to the smaller departments and busy faculty of a small liberal arts college.  At Smith, WEC will now encompass a single year of four meetings facilitated by the WEC specialist and a departmental liaison.  The specialist will conduct a survey of student-majors and faculty, lead a departmental assessment of student writing, help the department create a map of writing in their curriculum, and guide the liaison in creating a writing plan that the department can use to implement future changes in their writing pedagogy.  Plans already produced by Smith departments are presented below.

The WEC model offers a faculty-driven approach to supporting effective and relevant writing and writing instruction within an undergraduate curriculum. The model is founded on the following principles, gleaned from three decades of research and experience:

  • Writing can be flexibly defined as an articulation of thinking and an act of choosing among an array of modes or forms, only some of which involve words.  Simply put, writing comprises marks on a page or screen intended to convey meaningful information to an audience. 
  • Writing ability is continually developed rather than mastered.
  • Because writing is instrumental to learning, it follows that writing instruction is the shared responsibility of content experts in all academic disciplines.
  • The incorporation of writing into content instruction can be most meaningfully achieved when those who teach are provided multiple opportunities to articulate, interrogate, and communicate their assumptions and expectations.
  • Those who infuse writing instruction into their teaching require support.

About the Process

In a nutshell, WEC engages undergraduate departments in a faculty-driven process of self-reflection around the infusion of writing in their curricula and pedagogy.

Ongoing assessments indicate that implementing the WEC model can trigger positive shifts in writing instruction and in the rate at which student writing meets local faculty expectations.  Faculty in departments that have completed the WEC process report greater intentionality and reflection in their teaching and the department’s curriculum; stronger writing assignments and more purposeful  feedback; and more deliberate curricular planning.

The WEC process dovetails well with mid-term departmental reviews, public-facing writing initiatives, and racial justice action planning.

About the Writing Plans

Writing plans are developed in a series of lively meetings with departmental faculty and a specialist in writing pedagogy and assessment. These meetings allow faculty opportunities to think collaboratively about the roles played by writing in their fields, attributes they look for in student writing, and ways that writing instruction can be optimally situated in their curricula. Toward the end of the process, faculty  plan for locally relevant instructional interventions and make requests for  support.

The writing plans that result from these meetings articulate relevant writing expectations and outline plans for curricular integration of writing instruction, writing assessment, and instructional support. Plan drafts are vetted by department chairs and subsequently approved by the Committee on Writing and Public Discourse.

Writing & Public Discourse

Writing that matters.

Smith is undergoing a transformation in how we teach students to write, with public discourse at the center. Across Smith’s courses, disciplines, programs and events, students don’t just get a chance to practice writing in the classroom, they also get a chance to put their ideas into action and make a difference in the world.

Learn More About Writing & Public Discourse at Smith

Contact Writing Enriched Curriculum

Seelye Hall 307
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063


To share ideas or questions about Smith’s Writing Enriched Curriculum initiative, please contact Sara Eddy at the Jacobson Center for Writing, Teaching & Learning.