Writing Fellows Program Information

The Writing Fellows Program is designed to raise the standard of written work that students produce while also alleviating some of the burden on faculty of integrating writing into a class. The program provides students one-on-one attention, encourages attentive review and revision of drafts, and creates a forum for faculty to share ideas on writing assignments that improve critical thinking.

Each semester, the Writing Fellows Program seeks faculty who are passionate about good writing to offer innovative, writing-intensive courses. A writing fellows course can be from any department, as long as it asks students to write frequently in order to develop critical thinking skills and knowledge of disciplinary conventions.

Writing fellows receive extensive education and training in order to help students better understand assignments and meet expectations about their writing. They provide detailed, personalized feedback to help each student improve, no matter their skill level or experience.

Course Requirements for Inclusion in the Writing Fellows Program

  • The course must be writing-intensive. A significant portion of students' grades will be calculated according to the quality of writing, knowledge, and critical thinking exhibited in at least two formal papers. (In some cases, one long formal paper suffices if the assignment is broken into steps—such as proposal, outline, and draft or multiple drafts.)
  • The writing should be academic, with an emphasis on critical thinking, research, analysis, argument, or disciplinary conventions (such as learning how to write a clear and coherent lab report in a format appropriate to the field). Students should not be required to meet with writing fellows to discuss personal journal writing or informal writing.
  • The course must be offered through the Division of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering on the Medford Campus and must be designated primarily for undergraduate students.
  • Faculty may be full-time, part-time, tenure-stream, or non-tenure stream. 

Expectations for Faculty

  • Require all undergraduate students taking your course to meet with writing fellows to discuss revision of at least two graded writing assignments. (The professor determines class policy for any graduate students in the course. Usually, seeing a writing fellow is optional for graduate students.)
  • Meet with your assigned writing fellows to discuss classroom policies, due dates, writing assignments, and your expectations of your students' work.
  • Develop firm due dates for the drafts and the revisions of the papers to be assigned. Do not change due dates without consulting your writing fellows first.
  • Announce or introduce the writing fellows to your course by including them on your syllabus, adding them to Trunk, or inviting them to introduce themselves to your class.
  • Work with the writing fellows and the director of the Writing Fellows Program to develop effective writing assignments, manageable due dates, and classroom policies for late papers.

Preferences for courses in the program

The following criteria are not strict requirements, but we find that courses with the following elements tend to work best for the program. If there are more proposals than available spots, courses with the following elements may be preferred for inclusion. We are happy to discuss options for your course or make suggestions for assignments that would be compatible with the program!

  • A class size between 20 and 60 students 
  • Classes that primarily attract first-year and sophomore students, or upper-class students in a discipline that does not typically have a lot of assigned writing
  • Assignments that allow students to choose all or part of their topic, that all students to choose how to organize their essay, and/or that engage students in questions of genre or audience
  • Course schedules in which both required writing fellows meetings occur before the last two weeks of the semester (if the class requires a long research paper at the end of the semester, we request that the paper draft be due by the penultimate week of classes)

Faculty Rewards

  • Teaching supplemental for participating in the faculty training seminar at the beginning of the semester. The training seminar is required for faculty teaching in the Writing Fellows Program for the first time.
  • Teaching supplemental for attending additional scheduled Writing Fellows Program faculty meetings during the semester.

We are very happy to answer questions about the program, discuss whether your course would be a good fit, or collaborate with you to redesign a course to be more writing-intensive or to develop more effective writing assignments.