learning lab

Quality Enhancement Plan

QEP is an opportunity to inspire change and to advance the educational experience of GWU’s students. 

What is QEP?

QEP stands for Quality Enhancement Plan – every ten years, SACSCOC, GWU’s regional accrediting agency, asks institutions to develop a plan to improve student learning.  A QEP is not just an accrediting requirement, though.  For more information on QEPs, contact SACSCOC.

GWU’s QEP is “The Writing Connection,” a multi-year project to implement a Writing-Intensive curriculum for Traditional Undergraduate Students.  Students entering GWU in Fall 2018 and after will be required to take five Writing-Intensive courses before graduating, two of which will be in their majors.  The goal is to improve student writing continuously from first semester to graduation by creating a Writing Connection between Freshman Composition, the General Education core, and the majors.  This focus on writing should prepare students for their post-graduate lives, for careers, graduate study, and being productive members of their communities. 

Writing-Intensive Curriculum

Tier One:  English 101 and 102

Tier Two:  One course from the General Education core, taken post-English 102.  This course must be coded as Writing-Intensive.

Tier Three:  Two courses in the student’s major.  These must be coded as Writing-Intensive.

Steps in the Process of Submitting a Course for Writing-Intensive Designation

The following steps should be followed to submit a course for Writing-Intensive approval.

  1. The instructor who wishes to submit a course for Writing-Intensive Designation must first complete the required professional development provided by the QEP Director. 
  2. After completing professional development, if needed, the instructor can meet with the Chair of the Writing-Intensive Designated Course Committee for an initial review of how the proposed course will meet WI SLOs.  
  3. Faculty should use the submission form available on the QEP Bb Organization.  After completing the initial professional development, faculty are automatically added to this Bb Organization. 
  4. The QEP Director is available to assist faculty in preparing this form.
  5. The instructor will submit the Writing-Intensive course submission form and a course syllabus to the Writing-Intensive Designated Course Committee.
  6. If the course is approved by the Writing-Intensive Designated Course Committee as a Writing-Intensive Designated Course, it will be reported to:
    1. The instructor who submitted the course
    2. The appropriate Dean/Chair, and
    3. The Registrar’s Office
  7. In the event a course is not approved, guidance will be provided for the instructor to revise and resubmit. 

The Information Literacy/Writing-Intensive Designated Course Committee receives submissions.

Writing Fellows Program

A Writing Fellow is a peer tutor embedded in a Writing-Intensive course.  A Fellow works with students on their writing, from brainstorming and drafting to revision.  Unlike tutors at the Writing Center, a Writing Fellow is assigned to one class and one instructor, creating a more specialized focus.  A Fellow also works closely with the instructor of the class, providing opportunities for mentoring and professional development.  A Writing Fellows program promotes partnership between Fellows and faculty and collaboration between peers. 

Writing Fellows should expect to develop advanced skills in written and oral communication, leadership, and the ability to work with diverse groups.  These skills will make Fellows more desirable job candidates and applicants to graduate school. 

Writing Fellows will be expected to attend training prior to the start of each semester and twice a month during the semester. 

Applicants should possess strong writing and communication skills as well as strong organizational skills. 

Compensation:  $8.25/hour, estimated 60 hours each semester.  Fellows should be aware that unlike other workplaces, the hours per week will vary, depending upon the timing and nature of the writing assignments in the course they are assigned to.  Fellows should anticipate working more hours some weeks, fewer other weeks.  Fellows should have strong organizational and planning skills to accommodate this type of flexible work schedule.

Please contact Dr. Cheryl Duffus, QEP Director, [email protected] for application materials. 

Professional Development for Faculty

The Writing Connection QEP will offer on-going Professional Development workshops for faculty so that they can be prepared to teach the Writing-Intensive curriculum.  Before applying to have their courses approved as Writing-Intensive, faculty must attend Professional Development workshops.


Writing Intensive means that writing for the course must be guided and taught by the instructor, and that students will be expected to transfer learning and skills from one Writing Intensive course to another. In WI courses, writing and writing assignments will be taught using the QEP SLOs at the end of this document.

Writing Intensive does not mean that more writing is required or that instructors should add more writing to their courses – rather, it means that any writing assigned needs to be guided and taught by the instructor and should fulfill the SLOs at the end of this document.

Writing Intensive does not mean that instructors will all teach writing in the same way or assign the same types of writing assignments. Instructors will continue to teach writing as appropriate for their disciplines and assign writing appropriate for their disciplines.

Five Writing-Intensive courses from Tier One, Tier Two, and Tier Three.

  • Tier One: ENGL 101 and ENGL 102
  • Tier Two: One Gen Ed taken after ENGL 102
  • Tier Three: Two courses in the major

  • They will be coded WI2 in the Course Schedule for Advising and in Banner prior to each semester’s registration.
  • A list of WI2 courses is provided to advisors before the advising times each semester.
  • Important: most Gen Ed courses have multiple sections each semester. Typically, only 1-2 sections of a Gen Ed course will be WI2. Please register very carefully for the correct course.
  • The Tier Two course must be taken after ENGL 102. Tier Two courses will be coded with a registration pre-requisite for ENGL 102.
  • These courses will vary from semester to semester. A list of WI2 courses is provided to advisors before the advising times each semester.

    Two courses in the major. Ideally, the first course should be taken at the beginning of the major and the second course at the end. The second course should build on learning in the first one and should have a higher level of expectations.

    • Students can consult the list of majors courses in the Academic Catalog for Tier Three courses.
    • Tier Three courses will be coded WI3 in the Course Schedule for Advising and in Banner.
    • A list of WI3 courses is provided to advisors before the advising times each semester.

    • If a student transfers in credit for or places out of ENGL 101 and/or 102, then they will be exempted from the Tier One Writing-Intensive requirements.
    • If a student transfers in under the Articulation Agreement, they will be exempted from Tiers One and Two.
    • Transfers still needing General Education courses will need to fulfill Tier Two requirements.
    • All transfers will need to fulfill Tier Three requirements.

    1. Students will apply a guided writing process. (Tiers One, Two, and Three)
    2. Students will write effectively for a context and purpose, including the use of appropriate grammar and mechanics. (Tiers One, Two, and Three)
    3. Students will employ discipline-specific terminology and conventions of writing. (Tiers Two and Three)
    4. Students will evaluate the credibility and relevance of sources, integrate sources with their own ideas, and document their research correctly. (Tiers Two and Three)

    Dr. Cheryl Duffus

    QED Director
    Professor of English

    [email protected]
    (704) 406-4409