We took a stab at such a statement a number of years ago, in an attempt to articulate for students, faculty, and TAs the intersection between our first-year composition course and our WAC requirement (two "writing intensive" courses). Here's the now-dated version, with all its flaws, that was used for only a couple of semesters before the project was shelved. This statement appeared as the Introduction to a booklet titled "A Guide to the Writing Requirements at the University of Missouri" which also included the usual stuff like course info, where to find tutoring help, etc. I'd gladly receive comments and constructive criticism.

Marty Townsend , University of Missouri

UNIVERSITY WRITING: WHAT IS IT AND WHO NEEDS IT?

New college students often feel frustrated at having to take courses that emphasize writing. They (along with some of their professors) assume that they learned "how to write" in high school and that they will be able to handle the writing assigned in classes at MU. This assumption is founded upon a number of misconceptions about what writing is and how people learn to write. For instance, many people mistakenly think that

In reality, writing is a far more complex activity than people usually realize, and learning to write is a life-long process. Even experienced, professional writers revise often and regularly seek help from other writers. Writing is hard work for anyone who takes it seriously. Knowing the characteristics that define good writing helps most students approach their assignments more confidently. Although individual disciplines have developed their own particular formats and conventions, most academic writing requires

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS A UNIVERSITY WRITER

As you enter the community of learners at MU, you should keep in mind that you are assuming a number of obligations. Professors in all disciplines-from anthropology to engineering to zoology, not just English-have a right to expect good writing from you. Your enrollment in any class is a tacit agreement to

YOUR RIGHTS AS A UNIVERSITY WRITER

Along with the obligations you assume as a university writer come certain rights. When you are asked to complete writing assignments as a part of earning your grade in a course, you have the right to

--ask questions about the writing assignment

--understand the purpose of the assignment

--receive written instructions explaining the assignment

--see written evaluation criteria for the assignment

--know what format and documentation styles are acceptable

--recieve written comments explaining how your response could be improved

--consult with your teacher one-on-one about assignments and about comments on papers

--have graded work returned promptly

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