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Writing Across the Curriculum


LSP 350.I302 Health and Migration in the United States
Writing in the Majors Guidelines*
Professor Alyshia Gálvez

Role of Writing

In this course, writing assignments are used for various purposes. First, they enhance student comprehension of a diverse set of interdisciplinary materials drawn from the fields of public health, anthropology, sociology, psychology, epidemiology, and more. Second, they offer students the opportunity to rehearse writing in various genres from these disciplines. Third, they are constructed to develop progressively more challenging cognitive skills, especially critical thinking and the empowered use of sources to construct original research questions and arguments. My objective in designing the assignments for this course was to make the writing assignments match and scaffold to writing goals: lower order (initial assignments, low-stakes writing), higher order (higher-stakes writing), and specialization (final project). In this way, I have constructed a pyramid, in which student work decreases in quantity and increases in stakes as we move through the semester. Simpler, lower stakes writing at the beginning of the semester is designed to develop the specific skills needed for more complex, higher stakes writing later in the semester. Writing for content, writing for comprehension, identifying arguments, and developing a shared glossary of terms and concepts provide the groundwork for drafting executive summaries, syntheses of multiple sources, interview schedules, and text reviews. These shorter genres offer a rehearsal for the final culminating writing assignment: a short research paper in which students are obliged to choose, summarize, synthesize and utilize independently identified sources to construct research questions and defend an original argument.

Disciplinary Writing

Students will gain facility with the following genres or types of writing:

  • Low-stakes, in-class writing: most class sessions begin with a reflection on the reading framed by questions.
  • Executive Summary of a single source (1 paragraph).
  • Synthesis of Multiple Sources (2 pages).
  • Interview schedule/Interview (5-7 pages).
  • Review of a scholarly text (2-3 pages).
  • Short research paper (7-10 pages).

Expectations of Students in a WIM Course:

Students will write to learn and learn to write. Writing will be used as a major modality for instruction and learning in the course. Students will engage with the process of writing throughout the semester to develop and hone specific skills pertaining to the interdisciplinary field of study and its component disciplines. Engagement with the process will be demonstrated by compliance with deadlines for drafts, revisions, and final submission of assignments as well as in-class writing exercises.


GG = General goal for college-level scholarship
AG = Goal specific to anthropology majors
LAPRS = Goal specific to Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies majors

Lower Order Objectives

  • Identify and note down/rephrase/analyze arguments. (GG)
  • Write an effective summary of a single source. (GG)
  • Notice and write about trends in Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies (content, themes, developing knowledge about specific regions, countries, cultural groups, etc.). (LAPRS)
  • Develop an understanding of what it is like to be an anthropologist or an LAPRS scholar (including, specifically, how to write like an anthropologist or LAPRS scholar). (AG, LAPRS)
  • Write a field diary. (AG)
  • Generate an interview schedule. (AG, LAPRS)

Higher Order Objectives

  • Use sources. (GG)
  • Synthesize multiple materials. (GG)
  • Generate an original argument. (AG, LAPRS)
  • Identify and utilize appropriate sources. (AG, LAPRS)
  • Cite sources following AAA style (AG) or consistently employ another style. (LAPRS)
  • Compile information on a single theme, region, people, nation. (AG, LAPRS)
  • Mine and analyze a field diary for themes. (AG, LAPRS)
  • Write a critique (of policy, a book, a film). (AG, LAPRS)

Specialization Objectives (300-level and above, advanced majors and minors) (AG, LAPRS)

  • Conduct an interview.
  • Design a research project.
  • Conduct research appropriate to the major.
  • Write a mid-length essay (7-10 pages) that incorporates multiple sources, synthesizes materials but also advances an original argument, and uses appropriate citation practices with academic integrity.

Expectations of Faculty in a WIM Course

The instructor for this course has the responsibility to make the writing meaningful and productive for developing students as thinkers in the interdisciplinary fields represented in this course. To this end, the instructor should scaffold writing assignments to enable students to engage in progressively more complex thinking and writing, using materials drawn from multiple disciplines and viewpoints, utilizing concepts drawn from social theory and various disciplines.

Faculty will:

  • Provide an overall rationale and logic for the role of writing in the course in enabling students to write to learn as well as rehearse participation in the intellectual conversations within the field. This is accomplished both in the format and form of the assignments, their relationship to each other, and in the ongoing meta-discussion of writing and its place in scholarly labor throughout the course.
  • Offer entry-level opportunities for participation in the genres of writing in the field.
  • Offer progressively higher-stakes and more complex opportunities for the development of sophistication and refinement in writing in the field.
  • Provide guidance, resources, and assistance to students in developing their writing and completion of assignments.
  • Model and provide, in course reading assignments and classroom activities, examples of the kinds and content of texts in the interdisciplinary fields of study comprised by the course.
  • Provide resources and information for successful completion of clear and concise assignments, including:
    • style guides (APA, AAA).
    • research guides.
    • samples of successful work in the various text types by scholars and by students.
  • Offer opportunities for frequent “meta” discussion of the work of being a scholar including:
    • identifying, organizing, utilizing sources, and applying style guidelines.
    • assessing evidence.
    • constructing arguments.
    • engaging in scholarly debates.
  • Provide timely and thorough feedback.
  • Provide opportunities to draft and revise in advance of final submission.
  • Provide a climate and opportunities for peer collaboration, revision, and feedback.

Criteria for Assessing Student Writing

  • Students will be assessed primarily on engagement with the process of writing to learn. All low-stakes writing assignments, including drafts of high-stakes assignments, will be graded “credit/no credit” for completion, as a means of encouraging timely completion and engagement without the imposition of an arbitrary grading system. 
  • A rubric is provided for the final paper upon discussion of the assignment, and filled out and returned to each student upon submission of the penultimate draft of the paper.
  • Final drafts of assignments are assessed for engagement, use of evidence, development of an argument, and mastery/curation of sources. Final submissions are also expected to be polished and error-free.

* Note: This course, LSP Migration and Health is a one-time course. The general writing goals were written for LAC/LPR 348 Latino/a Health, a new course that has yet to be taught.