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Writing in the Disciplines

Writing in the Disciplines

Southeast approaches writing in the disciplines (WID) differently from many other institutions. While other institutions have designated WID courses, Southeast integrates writing throughout the General Education program on the basis of the written communication objective.

Some faculty may be more familiar with the term "writing across the curriculum" (WAC). Many WAC models, however, delegate the teaching of all writing skills to an English department or to a WAC program.  In these models, students rarely learn how to write from experts in the various disciplines. In a WID model, however, writing instruction is disseminated throughout the curriculum and the various departments and programs at an institution. Therefore, because Southeast's WID program is integrated in all General Education courses, all Southeast faculty are responsible for writing instruction.

Professional Development Opportunities

The Center for Writing Excellence now offers WID professional development opportunities through the Speakers Series and Breakfast/Lunch workshops.

Speakers Series

Area professionals visit campus to discuss the role of writing in their careers. Speakers share their personal experiences with writing, the types of writing that are expected of employees, and job trends that involve written communication.

Past Presentations include:


  • “Writing and Marketing,” presented by Charlie Wirtel, store manager of the Buckle, explored the role of written communication in marketing. This event was held in the University Center Indian Room, Tuesday, September 25, 2018. Mr. Wirtel discussed the importance of communication in his profession and emphasized the important—yet often under-used—tradition of writing simple thank you notes.
  • “Writing and Engineering,” presented by Brian Richardson, engineer and project leader with Boeing, explored the role of written communication in engineering. This event was held in Dempster Hall, Friday, November 16, 2018.
  • “The Role of Writing in My Career,” presented by Jay Knudtson, former Cape Girardeau mayor and president of Southeast’s Board of Regents, as well as current vice president of First Missouri State Bank. The event was held in the University Center Program Lounge, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Mr. Knudtson offered an engaging overview of his personal journey with writing and the role of written communication in his career.

Breakfast/Lunch Workshops

Southeast faculty lead workshops to share writing techniques and to discuss the role of writing within specific disciplines. Faculty workshop participants learn innovative practices that they can integrate into the classroom.

Past presentations include:

  • “Integrity in the Classroom,” presented by Dr. Sally Carter, director of Testing Services. This event was held in the University Center Heritage Room, Tuesday, August 28, 2018. Dr. Carter shared the importance of integrity and classroom activities for defining and building integrity.
  • “Responding to Student Work,” presented by Dr. Missy Nieveen Phegley, professor and director of Composition and Assessment in the English department. This event was held in the University Center Redhawks Room, Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Dr. Phegley provided tips for responding to student writing in a way that offers both support to the student and constructive critiques for improvement.
  • “Writing to Learn: Structuring the Semester for Student Success,” presented by Dr. Sandra Cox, assistant professor in the English department. This event was held in Memorial Hall room 103, Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Dr. Cox shared the concept of scaffolding assignments to assist students through semester-long assignments.
  • “Now You’re Writing My Language,” presented by Dr. Sarah Dietrich, assistant professor in the English department. This event was held in the University Center Heritage room, Thursday, October 3. Dr. Dietrich offered a unique perspective of written communication in an American university through a non-native English-speaker’s lens.
  • “Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Primary Sources in Special Collections and Archives, Kent Library,” presented by Dr. Joni Hand, associate professor of Art History with the Department of Art and Design. This event was held in the Rare Book Room, Kent Library, Friday, November 8. Dr. Hand selected several pieces from the Charles Luce Harrison Collection and shared her research on the role each served in the history of written communication.

Writing Assignment Checklist

Does the Assignment Include the Following?

  • Goal of this assignment for student learning relevant to this course  (review previous knowledge, build new knowledge, show understanding, synthesize material, etc.?)
  • Topic and thesis
  • Instructions for the assignment (use explicit language like “explain” or “compare and contrast” rather than “consider” or “discuss”).
  • Who the audience is -- their interest, background, and needs
  • Sequencing and deadlines, and policy on late work
  • Sources and documentation required, and policies on quotation, citation, and plagiarism
  • Minimum and maximum length, and policy on work not conforming to these 
  • Format and method of submission
  • Your specific preferences or pet peeves – e.g. “Avoid passive voice”
  • Scoring rubric
  • Examples of student work on similar assignments receiving a range of grades 

Adapted From

Alternatives to Term Papers

Alternatives - Lawrence U. Library

Designing Assignments

Ferris State University



Memorial Hall 103
Center for Writing Excellence
One University Plaza, MS 4185
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701