University Writing Programs Mission Statement

The goal of the University Writing Programs is to assist faculty and students at Pacific in the improvement of student writing within their majors and individual disciplines and to encourage more active, engaged learning through writing-intensive courses, the use of innovative teaching methods in writing instruction, and tutorial support from the Student Writing Center for all levels of writing in the various undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

Writing in the Disciplines (and Classroom-Based Writing Mentors)

Recognizing the need for stronger writing instruction to better prepare students for the workforce and for graduate study, the University of the Pacific implemented the Writing in the Disciplines Program (WID) in the fall of 2006.

The goal of Writing in the Disciplines is to assist faculty and students at Pacific in the improvement of student writing within their majors and individual disciplines and to encourage more active, engaged learning through writing intensive courses, the use of innovative teaching methods in writing instruction, and tutorial support from the Student Writing Center for all levels of writing, from the Pacific Seminars to Senior Capstone Courses.

Writing in the Disciplines at Pacific is based on four central principles:

  1. Writing is both a central form and reliable measure of critical inquiry. Lucid, incisive writing can only result from clear, sharp thinking.
  2. Writing is a systematic process that involves multiple drafts, solicitation and use of feedback, revision, further responses, reflection, and final editing.
  3. Good writing has a clear purpose and is discipline-, audience-, and context-specific.
  4. Improvement in writing occurs over time and is best understood as a life-long process.
If you are teaching or developing a course that you think should be considered "writing intensive," or if you are interested in hiring a classroom-based writing mentor, please contact Eileen Camfield at For more information, please view the Faculty Resources at the bottom of this page. 

Writing-Intensive Curriculum

Pacific's writing-intensive curriculum is comprised of three stages. During the freshman year, Pacific Seminars I and II serve as the first stage. Courses in each department designated as "writing-intensive" or capstone seminars comprise the second and third stages during the sophomore through senior years in most disciplines. For more information, please see our official statement on the undergraduate writing experience at Pacific

Common Myths about Teaching Writing-Intensive Courses

The Myth:            In order for a course to be considered WI, it must have a classroom-based writing mentor.
The Reality: Writing mentors are completely optional. If you think you might benefit from having a writing mentor in your course, contact the director of University Writing Programs to find out how to begin the process.
The Myth: To be a WID course, writing must be added onto the existing curriculum and is therefore an additional burden to the instructor.
The Reality:Writing can be used as a means for students to learn the content of the course, and instructors don’t need to comment on or grade most assignments. When administered properly, the writing element of a course can actually simplify the instructor’s efforts while enriching the students’ learning experience.
The Myth: In order to teach writing as a process, instructors must comment on every draft of every paper submitted.
The Reality:Instructors should strive to provide feedback on at least one draft that will be revised; and even then, the feedback doesn’t need to be extensive. Beyond that, instructors can incorporate group workshops, peer feedback, writing mentors, or other means for helping students work on and improve their writing through the stages of the writing process. 
The Myth: Instructors of WI courses must mark or comment on every mistake, typo, grammar error, and sentence-level problem.
The Reality:WI instructors are not copy-editors or proof-readers. Simply letting students know that their grade has been (or might be) effected by typos and errors is enough. Students should be encouraged to seek out someone they trust to assist with editing. Instructors should focus their attention on helping students develop as writers, not fixing mistakes on their papers. 
The Myth: A classroom-based writing mentor will handle the writing element of the course so the instructor can focus on everything else.
The Reality:Writing mentors are a great resource, but they work with the instructor to help students develop as writers. Instructors are ultimately responsible for designing, implementing, and grading writing assignments. Writing mentors are not allowed to grade student writing. 
The Myth: Students have already taken PACS 1 & 2, so they should have already been taught how to write.
The Reality:Learning to write well, especially in new and unfamiliar disciplines, takes years of practice and dedication and requires ample coaching and support. This is why we want our students exposed to as many WI courses as possible before they graduate. Students will enter into WI courses with varying writing-related skills, abilities, and proficiencies.  A WI instructor’s job isn’t to teach them (or re-teach them) what they should have already learned, nor is it to fix their writing problems once and for all. The WI course is just one more step in the student’s years-long process of learning to write. 
The Myth: Instructors need to be well versed in composition and rhetorical theory to adequately teach a writing-intensive course.
The Reality:A WID instructor should have an understanding of the discourse practices of his or her field, and the instructor should be willing to help students learn the content of the course through formal and informal writing assignments. Beyond that, no specialization in rhetoric and composition is needed to be an excellent WI instructor. The University Writing Programs offers many resources for WI instructors who want to become more efficient and effective in their writing instruction. 

Faculty Resources

The following documents are related to the University Writing Programs, Writing in the Disciplines, writing assessment, and faculty development. 

If you are unable to find the document or information you need, please contact Eileen Camfield, Interim Director of University Writing Programs, at 

Mike Peterson,
Feb 14, 2013, 4:13 PM
Mike Peterson,
Jan 15, 2013, 3:24 PM
Mike Peterson,
Nov 26, 2012, 4:03 PM
Mike Peterson,
Nov 26, 2012, 4:32 PM
Mike Peterson,
Nov 26, 2012, 4:07 PM
Mike Peterson,
Nov 26, 2012, 4:34 PM
Mike Peterson,
Nov 26, 2012, 4:03 PM