Procedure for Requesting Writing to Learn Waiver
Note: The waiver request is made by the Advisor to the Dean on the student's behalf. Students cannot initiate this process by making a request directly to the Dean.
The Writing to Learn program at PSU is a four-course series, that includes two composition courses and two WL courses, in the student's first two years of study. This ensures that students write in at least one course every semester of their first two years, in preparation for their upper-level writing courses in the major.
Students who transfer to PSU with 55 credit hours completed are not required to take the Writing to Learn series of courses. All other students, whether they have been at PSU from the start or have transferred with fewer than 55 hours, are expected to take two WL courses as part of their General Education studies.
Sometimes students believe they should be granted a waiver of the Writing to Learn requirement for one or both of the WL courses, usually because they have completed their General Education courses and taking a course for the WL requirement would constitute a hardship. Only the student's advisor can request a WL course waiver, by writing a letter to the Dean of the college in which the student has his or her major.
Such a letter should be written only in rare or exceptional cases, in which it is clear that a waiver would be justifiable. For instance, if a student transferred in with just under 55 credit hours and made a good-faith effort to take the requisite WL courses, the adivsor might decide to request a waiver.
The Dean of the college is the only one who can grant a waiver of the WL course requirement. He or she makes the decision after reading the letter from the advisor in which the special circumstances are laid out. The advisor should specifiy in the letter why he or she thinks the student should have the requirement waived (or not). The advisor might want to consult with the WAC coordinator in the process of writing the letter. The decision is made by the Dean on the advice of the advisor, who knows the student's situation best.
In specific, infrequent instances, when the Dean believes this is the best alternative, the student can be given the option of taking a course in the major or minor which requires writing on a regular basis, instead of a WL course. Such a course would not be a Writing to Learn course and would not be designated as such on the transcript, but it would be an argument for the student being granted a waiver.
It would be the student's responsibility to find a faculty member willing to work with the student in such a course. Giving such help is entirely voluntary. No faculty member is expected to do this extra work. Any faculty member who voluntarily agrees to help the student, would have to agree to the terms of a writing contract, as provided by the Dean's office.
The Dean will notify the advisor of his or her decision, and will send the writing contract if that alternative is taken.