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History of the WSU Writing Program

The Washington State Writing Program was created in the early 1990s as a result of a mandate by the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board that the University provide “end of career” writing assessment for graduating seniors.   Seeking to create an innovative assessment that drew from cutting edge scholarship in Composition and Rhetoric, faculty members in the English Department teamed up with the General Education Program to create an instructional assessment that provided formative rather than summative results. In other words, the University Writing Portfolio was conceived of as a way not just to assess student writing proficiency, but to offer an educational response to the assessment that would reinforce writing proficiency in all graduates. In pursuit of this goal, Writing in the Major courses were added to the curricular infrastructure to guarantee that all WSU students would receive expertly-guided practice in writing for their chosen majors.

Central to supporting the success of the Writing in the Major initiative, the Writing Program has offered faculty development opportunities in the form of invited speakers, brown bag series’ on teaching writing, reader and rater trainings for the placement and portfolio processes, and one-with-once conferences for interested participants. Since its inception, the Washington State University Writing Program has received multiple commendations and awards, specifically a decade-long place on the U.S. News and World Report’s Best in the Nation list. Reporting to the Office of the Provost, the Writing Program continues to serve the entire WSU community as they engage with writing across a variety of endeavors.