Writing @ UNI


Writing at UNI

UNI is committed to helping students become competent writers in various areas and for various purposes. Each department sets the writing requirements for its majors; writing needs vary across disciplines, so the requirements and conventions vary across departments. The university is aware of disciplinary and local research evidence that writing instruction is deserving of increased attention and development at UNI. At this time there are various units through the University involved in writing instruction and curriculum development, including the Liberal Arts Core Committee, the Writing Center, academic programs, and the University Writing Committee.

Objectives of the University Writing Committee

The university Writing Committee:

1. Gathers input on curricular writing needs across the university.
2. Makes available practical and theoretical faculty development regrading college-level writing instruction.
3. Aids departments, academic units, and student service units in their support of writing as a mode of thinking and learning.
4. Supports faculty and teaching staff in strengthening their ongoing pedagogical initiatives in teaching writing.

The University Writing Committee does not:

1. Mandate a universal writing curriculum.
2. Impose specific writing outcomes upon unit's instruction.
3. Dictate reading lists, writing prompts, or the like.

Current University Writing Committee Members

Teaching Writing

Defining Plagiarism
Discouraging Plagiarism

Teaching Resources for Integrating Writing and Speaking
Writing in Science and Engineering

Assessing Writing

Writing assessment can often be a contentious issue simply because it is such a complex activity. It is often inseparable from other things such as understanding of content, reading comprehension, critical thinking, social support, and contextual factors. As a result, assessing writing often takes a great deal of time and care.

One thing that supports the University Writing Committee's mission is that assessment of writing is local. Large scale, standardized tests by ETS and ACT are often thought of as adequate tools to assess a particular program or method of teaching. However, these companies disavow such uses. In other words, such standardized tests may tell us something about the student but they cannot tell us anything about the program of writing instruction. We are here to answer any questions UNI faculty, staff, or students have about writing and writing assessment!

Below are some helpful links regarding writing assessment. Further inquiries can be sent to the University Writing Committee.

Conference on College Composition and Communication Position Statement on Writing Assessment.

Journal of Writing Assessment.

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Framing Statement on Writing Assessment.

Bridgewater College Writing Center Guide for Formative Assessment.
This is helpful for the kinds of feedback instructors can use to help support student learning about writing.

The Iowa Writing Project's Report on Teaching First-Year College Writing.
A useful guide to state-wide perspectives on and questions about definitions of college-level writing's goals, methods, outcomes, and assessment practices. Participants from secondary schools, community colleges, and universities had access to peer-reviewed literature on teaching college writing, writing assessment, methods, and outcomes as these sessions were held.