Curriculum Design Studio

Invitation: Apply for Writing-Intensive Curriculum Design Studio

Spring 2023

DEADLINE:  January 13, 2023

The Writing Institute will launch an inaugural Writing-Intensive Curriculum Design Studio in Spring Term 2023. We invite departments who are interested in designing or re-designing W-Intensive courses to meet their programmatic goals and/or General Education commitments to consider sending an administrative individual or team to participate in this program. Participants earn a stipend upon completion of the program.

About the Program

Writing is a powerful mode of inquiry. Students who write frequently—in any discipline—not only develop strong writing skills but also extend their thinking and propel their learning. The University of Pittsburgh was one of the first in the nation to recognize and promote the value of writing in the disciplines. Since 1981, the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of School of Arts and Sciences has offered writing-intensive courses in every academic major. Dietrich School students must complete two writing-intensive courses, one in their major field of study, in order to fulfill the General Education Requirements. 

This program is for administrators who are 

  • concerned about the efficacy of their department’s writing-intensive course,
  • would like their writing-intensive course to better support the learning outcomes that they have identified for their majors,
  • are eager to offer a writing-intensive course that will enhance their students’ work in the major and their preparation for professional life after Pitt,
  • aware of obstacles that are preventing the effective implementation of the writing requirement for their majors, or
  • are currently offering a one-credit writing-intensive course and are eager to bring their department into compliance with the DSAS writing-intensive requirement (three credits of writing-intensive instruction in the major)

Who participates?

You will propose the participants from your department. Participants might include a Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department Chairs, or other administrative parties who coordinate, review, assign, and perhaps design W courses in the Department and who are responsible for participating in or coordinating curricular decisions at the program level.

How will the program work?

The group will meet on four occasions in the spring term to review existing curricula; to devise new or revised programmatic learning outcomes for W courses in the program or department; to discuss the role that the W courses will offer to benefit the program and students in the program; and to address challenges that might emerge in the delivery of the newly designed curricula. We will organize discrete Zoom and in-person options, depending on the cohort’s limitations or needs, to ensure that the group can meet regularly. Your team will have some work to do between meetings with the cohort. 

We can accommodate several Departments in the initial cohort. 

Participants who complete the program will each earn a stipend of $1200. To receive the payment, faculty must be under contract with the University of Pittsburgh.

What is the Application Process and Deadline?

You are the best judge of who in your department would need to be involved in this process in order to successfully conceptualize and implement curriculum design.

To apply, email a brief proposal to by January 13th.  Please include the names and roles of all proposed participants, the course or courses that will be the focus of the design work, and a brief description (no more than 300 words) of what your department hopes to gain from this opportunity for undergraduate students taking writing-intensive courses in your department.

Note: If your department’s proposal does not come directly from your department chair, we will check with them to be sure that your department is prepared to work on and implement curriculum design.

After Curriculum Design Studio

After you complete the Design Studio, the Writing Institute can further support your department’s efforts to offer undergraduates excellent writing instruction. We can develop faculty-oriented workshops tailored to your specific needs in the summer months or in the following academic year. Here are some of the possibilities:

  • We offer consultations with faculty (one-on-one or small groups) responsible for designing or adapting existing courses to align with curricular designs that emerge from Departmental participation in the Design Studio.
  • Your faculty members can enroll in our Writing in the Disciplines Seminar to design courses in alignment with the new / re-designed curricula.
  • The Writing Institute can develop tailored workshops for design and redesign of courses in a particular program or department to move from new design / redesign to adaptation and delivery (learning outcome driven to alignment with assignments and assessments) for faculty assigned to teach the course(s) (especially for those who have already taken the WID Seminar as an extension of this work).

Not ready to participate in the pilot? We expect to offer Curriculum Design Studio again in Spring 2024.