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Proposing a PWR 5 course

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On rare occasions, PWR lecturers lead independent writing courses with students through a PWR 5 course. PWR 5 is designed to provide a student to do focused and in-depth work in writing and research under the guidance of a PWR instructor.  There's a process in place for setting one up, which involves a proposal stage.

Steps for proposing a PWR 5

The proposal stage (submission and approval) for a PWR 5 must be completed by the end of week 3, before the Add/Drop deadline.

  1. Either before the quarter or in the first week, meet with the student to discuss the idea for the PWR 5; how it would build on their work in PWR; the nature of the project; how that project would help them further develop as a writer, researcher, and rhetorican; and the logistics of the course.
  2. The student should write a formal proposal, with the audience being you as well as PWR leadership. The proposal should
    • Discuss the topic of the independent study. The independent study should be designed to expand on learning they did in your PWR class (writing, rhetoric, research technique), not on content. While they can continue work on a particular topic, the proposal needs to outline how they’ll be doing work related to advanced work in writing & rhetoric, not just exploring a topic further. 
    • Mention the number of units and grading basis. The student, in consultation with you, can propose anywhere from 1 to 5 units, and a grading basis of either a CR/NC or letter grade.  The number of units should be comparable to workload. 
    • Assignments.  The proposal should outline the main assignments for the PWR 5, which, again, should be aligned with the number of units. Our general guideline has been roughly 10 pages of writing per unit, so a 3-unit PWR 5 would involve 25-30 pages of writing. 
    • Weekly schedule. The proposal should also provide a general week-by-week schedule for the quarter, including how often they will meet with you, a general topic for each meeting, and then any due dates/work submission.
  3. Once you approve the proposal draft, the student should send it (cc'ing you) to the Associate Director.
  4. The proposal is reviewed by both the Associate Director and one of the PWR Directors.  Often the student is asked to revise and resubmit the proposal, so it's wise to leave time for that in your process.  
  5. If the proposal is approved, the PWR Student Services Officer will be looped in and will add a section of PWR 5 on Axess, with you as the section instructor.  The student will be given a permission number to enroll, which they will need to do before the Add/Drop deadline at the end of week 3.

Additional considerations when taking on a PWR 5

PWR 5s are rare in part because there is no additional compensation for working with a student in this way, and there is no reduction of Hume hours. If you decide to take this on, you could meet with the student weekly during one of your Hume hours (a standing appointment), but that time couldn't be used for prep or reading of materials; it would need to focus on writing/research.