Writing Attentive Courses

Writing is one of the cornerstones of a Bates education

The writing-attentive curriculum at Bates College is designed to provide students with a solid footing in using writing as a means for communication, scholarship, intellectual discovery, and civic action. While writing and communication are woven throughout the Bates curriculum, writing receives explicit focus in a three-tiered writing requirement that must be completed at Bates over a student’s four years.


Courses at the W1 level are focused on helping students to develop a useful process for writing, to transfer the writing skills with which they enter college to their studies at Bates, and to acquire a foundation of skills that they can then transfer to writing in subsequent courses. Guided by an advanced scholar with a deep history of using writing to persuade, argue, and educate within their field of study, students in W1 courses begin to explore the idea that criteria for writing vary across disciplines, genres, and communities. Students generally satisfy the W1 requirement with a First-Year Seminar, all sections of which carry the W1 designation. Other courses may carry the W1 designation as well.


Courses at the W2 level are focused on helping students to find their voice within their chosen field of study. Students in W2s learn about how knowledge and understanding are communicated in major disciplines or interdisciplinary programs. Under the mentorship of a member of the faculty they develop a comfort and familiarity with the way that scholars and professionals in the disciplines construct knowledge. W2 courses orient students to the unique and often idiosyncratic expectations for communication that exist within every academic discipline, preparing students to produce scholarship within their major.


At the W3 level, students complete the thesis or capstone project that is the signature of a Bates education. In W3 courses, students work under the supervision of a member of the faculty to create a significant, original contribution to the scholarship within their chosen area(s) of study.


Values for Writing-Attentive Courses

Writing-attentive courses accomplish these goals in five main areas: integration, scaffolding, revision, writing to learn, and writing to communicate. This page provides information on each of these values, as well as guidelines for faculty on how to incorporate these values within a course.


Writing at Bates 

Writing at Bates provides stewardship and support for the writing-attentive curriculum through faculty development, and student assistance. Questions on the writing-attentive curriculum, or on faculty and student support for writing, can be addressed to the Director of Writing at Bates, Daniel Sanford (dsanford@bates.edu).