Focus, General Education at UHM
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Writing Intensive Focus

Proposal Forms Hallmarks Teacher Resources Requirement Assessment

W Focus sections are designated every semester based on the course/instructor information found in Banner/MyUH.

Faculty members with current, active approvals do not need to submit a proposal form. As long as they are listed as the section's instructor of record in MyUH before continuing student registration begins, their approved Focus designation(s) will be added to their section(s).

Faculty members who do not have active Focus approval for their course (or whose approval has expired) should submit a "Focus form" to request a Focus designation for their section(s).

Department Chairs may submit a "STAFF" form if the faculty member is unknown, or a "COURSE-based" form if the department wishes to designate all sections of a course every semester.

Click here for all Focus proposal forms

Hallmarks of Writing Intensive Classes

The faculty on the Writing Focus Board use these Hallmarks when evaluating proposals for the Writing-intensive designation.

W1. The class uses writing to promote the learning of course materials.
W2. The class provides interaction between the instructor and students while students do assigned writing.
W3. Written assignments contribute significantly to each student’s course grade.
W4. The class requires students to do a substantial amount of writing—a minimum of 4,000 words, or about 16 pages.
W5. To allow for meaningful professor-student interaction on each student’s writing, the class is restricted to 20 students.

Explanatory notes

  • Instructors assign formal and informal writing, both in class and out, to increase students' understanding of course material as well as to improve writing skills.

  • Types of interaction will vary. For example, a professor who requires the completion of one long essay may review sections of the essay, write comments on drafts, and be available for conferences. The professor who requires several short papers may demonstrate techniques for drafting and revising in the classroom, give guidance during the composition of the papers, and consult with students after they complete their papers.

  • Only students who satisfactorily complete the writing assignments should be allowed to pass the course with a "D" or better. Thus, the Board recommends that writing assignments count for at least 40% of the course grade. Alternatively, the Board recommends that if writing assignments count less than 40%, the course instructor state explicitly on the syllabus that "students must adequately complete all writing assignments to pass the course with a 'D' or better. Students who do not complete all writing assignments will get a D- or an F and will not earn W Focus credit."
  • The types of writing assigned will vary and may include formal and "informal" (writing that is not revised) writing. Depending on the course content, students may write analytic essays, critical reviews, journals, lab reports, research reports, reaction papers, etc.

Teacher Resources are available at the Mānoa Writing Program website.

Requirements for Students

Students are required to complete 5 courses designated as writing intensive ("W").

Students may take "W" or "WI" courses at any UH campus and transfer the writing-intensive credit to UHM. Transfer students entering from outside the UH system may have a reduced set of requirements, based on the number of accepted transfer credits.

Requirements for Non-UH Transfer Students
Number of accepted credit hours Number of "W" courses required
0-36 5
37-54 4
55-88 3
89+ 2
At least two "W" courses must be numbered at the 300- or 400-level


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Last updated April 23, 2015

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