Core Curriculum

Writing, Reading, and Inquiry

A new writing requirement, Writing, Reading, and Inquiry (WRI), was approved by the Faculty Senate in November 2020, with an effective date of fall 2021. The requirement was developed in response to concerns about student writing expressed by faculty across the institution and informed by assessment data on existing Core requirements, state-wide efforts to improve writing curricula, and careful study of national models of writing requirements in general education.

The Writing, Reading, and Inquiry requirement ensures students develop skills to meet the demands of collegiate study and of new writing situations and diverse audiences. Through their completion of the requirement, students become rhetorically versatile and purposeful readers and writers, using the power of language as a means to discover and cultivate ideas and to communicate clearly, productively, and ethically within academic, workplace, and civic communities.

The requirement has three distinct components:
1. A first semester course that introduces students to writing and rhetoric at the collegiate level,
2. A second semester course focused on building argumentative and research-based writing, and
3. A third course that teaches and reinforces writing techniques specific to an academic field or discipline. Students will complete this at variable times in their later undergraduate career.

Students can fulfill the each of the three requirement components with the following courses:
Writing, Reading and Inquiry (WRI) 1: ENG 100, ENG 101, ESL 100, HON 100, RSP 100
Writing, Reading, and Inquiry (WRI) 2: ENG 102 (new course; see template below)
Writing, Reading, and Inquiry (WRI) 3: Intermediate and/or advanced writing courses in the majors/minors and other programs. USM's Core Curriculum Committee will review courses that are eligible to carry the WRI 3 designation throughout the Spring 2021 semester (see 'Approval Process' below). A list of approved WRI 3 courses will be published on this page later in the spring term.

Writing, Reading, and Inquiry 3 Course Approval Process

The CCC invites proposals for courses to satisfy the new Writing, Reading, and Inquiry 3 requirement to take effect in fall 2021.

The committee has designed an expedited course proposal process (see form and sample proposal below). Proposals will be reviewed throughout the spring semester, on the following dates: Feb. 5, 19, March 5, 19, April 2, 16, 30, May 7. Proposals will be assigned for review in the order received. The CCC requests submission by the Friday prior to the desired review date. 

WRI 3 Course Proposal Form

Sample WRI 3 Course Proposal for SOC 210

SOC 210 Syllabus with WRI 3 outcomes and characteristics

SOC 210 Sample WRI 3 assignment and assessment rubric


Beginning fall 2021, and effective for students entering fall 2021 and beyond, Core Curriculum requirements are changing to better address students’ learning needs. Please see the following documents for additional information on new and revised Core requirements.

Overview of changes to the Core Curriculum effective fall 2021

Writing, Reading, and Inquiry Learning Outcomes and Assessment

ENG 102 (Writing, Reading and Inquiry 2) template

Overview of ENG 100 and ENG 102


Documents related to the curriculum change:

CCC proposal for a new writing requirement in the Core (approved by the Faculty Senate on Nov. 6, 2020)

Writing Proposal FAQs (developed by the CCC to address common questions)

Writing Proposal PowerPoint (developed by the CCC to accompany the proposal to the Faculty Senate)