Certification Process

Certification of a WI course involves a constructive conversation between you, the instructor, and us, members of the writing programs. We want to help you think through what it means for your students for your course to be WI.

The Process

The first step in the process for designating a course WI is to receive the approval of your department head (courses are designated WI at the catalog level, so a course will be WI every time it is offered).

After that, you will send two documents to Dan Driscoll at

  • A copy of the course syllabus, including descriptions of writing assignments
  • A brief proposal letter to the writing programs that, based on the guidelines here, reflects on your ideas for how you are using writing in your course. This proposal letter should include:
    • A description of the course and its objectives
    • A description of the writing that students will engage in during the course and how that writing fits into the course materials/goals, helps student learning, and helps students understand the kind of writing that takes place in your discipline/field

Your proposal letter should be straightforward and is, in essence, your reflection on what will happen in the course and why (it may even be the product of discussions among you and your colleagues in your department). The questions below can help you think about the course for your proposal.

The relationship between the course and discipline-specific work:

  • How is writing used in the field or discipline that my particular course aligns with?
  • Are there specific communication practices (or genres of writing) someone in my field needs to engage in and understand?
  • In my discipline, should my students be mindful of particular audiences? Should they write with a specific type of purpose? Can I help them understand the context of their writing?
  • What are the research practices of my field?

The writing in the course:

  • Should writing be a tool for inquiry in the course, or a way of sharing the results of inquiry? Both? How will writing help students learn or discover in the course?
  • How can research help students explore complex issues within the discipline? Will the course have requirements for evidence as integrated into the process of writing? Can assignments help students continue to develop an evidence-based mindset?
  • How can assignments help students understand writing in the context of this discipline?
  • Will students write with a particular rhetorical purpose (e.g. to persuade, to analyze, to evaluate)? With a particular rhetorical mode (e.g. definition, description, narration)?
  • Will students write in certain genres (e.g., lab reports, proposals, reviews)?
  • Can shorter/informal writing assignments help students develop ideas/build up to larger assignments?
  • Are there opportunities for the students to reflect on their writing process and work?

Grading and feedback:

  • Can I use writing portfolios in my course? Can I use a reflective component in my course?
  • What type of interaction will my students have with the Peer and Faculty Readers in the Drexel Writing Center?
  • How will I assess the writing in the course?

We are eager to help you resolve any issues or questions that come up while thinking about making a course WI, either before or after you submit your letter. Please contact Scott Warnock at

After we read your letter, we may ask for some clarifications. At the end of the certification process, we will notify the registrar, who will add the WI designation to the course.