ENGL 199 E: Interdisciplinary Writing/Natural Science

Meeting Time: 
MW 3:30pm - 4:50pm
LOW 222
Lubna Alzaroo

Syllabus Description:

English 199: Interdisciplinary Writing/Natural Science

Name of Instructor: Lubna Alzaroo

Class meeting time: Hybrid (This class will meet once a week through zoom 1:00-2:20)

Office hours: 2:30-3:30 pm Wednesday by appointment only through canvas Calendar (Please email me if you need to meet me at a different time, I’ll be happy to accommodate you).  

Email address: lubnaa@uw.edu

The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.

We acknowledge the people – past, present, and future – of the Dkhw’Duw’Absh, the Duwamish Tribe, the Muckleshoot Tribe, and other tribes on whose traditional lands we study and work.


Course description:

 Interdisciplinary Writing for the Natural Sciences is a 5 credit seminar linked with BIOL180: Introductory Biology.  It functions as a supportive intellectual community surrounding writing in biology.   BIOL 180 typically registers 700+ students, so we have a unique opportunity for a workshop-style course to focus attention on field-specific writing as a collaborative process.

Although these two courses complement each other, they have distinct goals, activities, and assessments. Each class is designed and graded independently of the other.  Here in English 199 we will focus on your writing and your ability to express your understanding of biological and natural science through writing – but we can only do that effectively if you come to class prepared for the details of the topics we plan to write about. This means that in addition to being prepared for our writing course, you must keep up with the readings and assignments in your BIO 180 course.

Our focus in ENGL199  will be the development of scientific literacy through reading and writing. We’ll be developing flexible writing strategies that are sensitive to a variety of contexts, audiences, and purposes in different rhetorical situations, but there will be many opportunities to follow and incorporate your own specific interests, investments, and goals for most writing assignments.

Course Objectives

  • Develop flexible writing strategies, including discipline-specific writing in biology
  • Analyze, apply, participate in & critique disciplinary writing practices, genres & values
  • Evaluate, synthesize, cite & remix a variety of sources for new purposes
  • Participate in a learning community that supports writing & research as a process

Course material:

Biological Science by Scott Freeman et al, 6th edition.

Any Supplemental Reading (assigned through Canvas)


We will do lots of informal and collaborative writing in this course, but the three main assignments are as follows. More detailed prompts will be provided in class.

  • Major Essay 1: Research poster
  • Major Essay 2: Nature Writing
  • Major Essay 3: Literature Review

Peer Conferences

For each of the three major assignments, we will conduct peer conferences before their due dates. You will read, assess, and offer extensive feedback on your assigned group’s drafts, and depending on the assignment, each group will meet with me during the week before your final draft due date. During conference weeks (see the class schedule), we will meet for conferences through zoom. 


Your grade in this class will be based on the grading contract you sign and submit  to me the first week of class. You may negotiate and renegotiate your grade with me at any point in the quarter. Further details on what the grading contract entails are available under Modules Week 0. 

 Late Work Policy:

Assignments should be handed in via Canvas on their due date. If there is a reason you think you may not be able to hand in the assignment on-time, please let me know beforehand. If you do hand in your assignment late, it will be marked incomplete and I will not give feedback on it. Furthermore it may affect the grade you agreed to in the contract.


The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers free, one-to-one, 45-minute tutoring sessions for undergraduate, graduate, and professional writers in all fields at the UW. They will work with writers on any writing or research project, as well as personal projects such as applications or personal statements. Their tutors and librarians collaborate with writers at any stage of the writing and research process, from brainstorming and identifying sources to drafting and making final revisions. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please see their website (https://depts.washington.edu/owrc (Links to an external site.)), or visit them in person on the first floor of Odegaard Undergraduate Library.

The CLUE Writing Center offers free one-on-one tutoring and workshops, and is open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday to Thursday in Mary Gates Hall, throughout the regular school year (Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters). It's first come, first served — so arrive early and be prepared to wait if necessary! CLUE also offers tutoring on a range of other subjects, including math, science, and so on. Read more here: https://webster.uaa.washington.edu/asp/website/get-help/clue/writing-cen... (Links to an external site.)

Extra Credit:

One of the ways you can earn extra credit towards your participation grade is by visiting Odegaard Writing & Research Center and working with a tutor there. Extra credit is worth one missed homework assignment or missed class session.

In order to receive extra credit for meeting with a writing tutor, you will want to get the tutor’s signature, along with the date and time of your visit. You must also turn in a reflection that answers the following questions in at least 100 words:

  1. What did you ask the tutor to look for in your paper?
  2. What feedback did you receive?
  3. How will you incorporate this feedback into this (and future) work?

 Academic Integrity:

Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else's ideas or writing as your own. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people's thoughts and writing--as long as you cite them. As a matter of policy, any student found to have plagiarised any piece of writing in this class will be immediately reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review.


If you have any concerns about or issues with the course, please come talk to me first. If you are not satisfied with my response, then you may get in touch with the IWP Director, Megan Callow, at mcallow@uw.edu . If you are unsatisfied with her response, you may contact the English Department Chair, Anis Bawarshi, at bawarshi@uw.edu.


If you need accommodation of any sort, please let me know so that I can work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require. This syllabus is available in large print, as are other class materials. More information about accommodation may be found at http://www.washington.edu/students/drs/ (Links to an external site.).

Religious Accommodations Clause

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Faculty Syllabus Guidelines and Resources. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form available at https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/ (Links to an external site.).

Campus Safety:

Call SafeCampus at 206-685-7233 anytime – no matter where you work or study – to anonymously discuss safety and well-being concerns for yourself or others. SafeCampus’s team of caring professionals will provide individualized support, while discussing short- and long-term solutions and connecting you with additional resources when requested.

  • Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
  • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at washington.edu/alert (Links to an external site.).

For more information visit the SafeCampus website at www.washington.edu/safecampus (Links to an external site.).

Counseling Center clause

UW Counseling Center workshops include a wide range of issues including study skills, thinking about coming out, international students and culture shock, and much more. Check out available resources and workshops at: https://www.washington.edu/counseling/ (Links to an external site.)

Health and Wellness clause

Health & Wellness provides support, advocacy, consultation, and education to the University of Washington campus community. Services are free for UW students, faculty, and staff. You can work with advocates on your behalf or on behalf of someone you know. Programs include Alcohol & Drug Consultation and Education, Suicide Intervention, Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, Stalking and Harassment Advocacy, and Student Care Program. For more information: http://depts.washington.edu/livewell/ (Links to an external site.)

Career Center clause

UW Career Center offers career counseling and planning, workshops and career fairs, a listing of part-time jobs on and off campus, and much more: http://careers.washington.edu/students (Links to an external site.)

Q Center clause

The University of Washington Q Center builds and facilitates queer (gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirit, trans, intersex, questioning, same-gender-loving, allies) academic and social community through education, advocacy, and support services to achieve a socially-just campus in which all people are valued. For more information, visit http://depts.washington.edu/qcenter/ (Links to an external site.)

FIUTS clause

Foundation for International Understanding through Students: FIUTS is an example of a campus organization that can bring together your social and academic learning. "FIUTS is an independent non-profit organization which provides cross-cultural leadership and social programming for UW's international and globally minded domestic students. FIUTS is local connections and global community!" FIUTS also offers a free international lunch on the last Wednesday of every month beginning with a lunch on September 28 from 11:30-1:30 in the Kane Hall Walker-Ames room. Consult FIUTS' web site for a detailed calendar of events and links to many resources http://www.fiuts.washington.edu (Links to an external site.).

Any Hungry Husky

The Any Hungry Husky program helps mitigate the social and academic effects of campus food insecurity. By providing students, staff, and faculty with access to shelf-stable, non-perishable goods and community resources at no cost, this initiative aims to lessen the financial burden of purchasing food and supplement nutritional needs. This resource is for everyone in the UW community. Learn more here:


Catalog Description: 
Expository writing based on material presented in a specific natural science lecture course. Assignments include drafts of papers to be submitted in the specified course, and other pieces of analytical prose. Concurrent registration in the specified course required.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
August 20, 2021 - 12:23am