Instructor Resources and Policies

PWR Instructor Resources

  1. Instructor Archive (link goes to a Sharepoint site).
  2. 2023 English 131 Instructor Manual (link goes to an open-access Pressbooks book)
  3. 2023 PWR Instructor Sourcebook (link goes to an open-access Pressbooks book)
  4. PWR Weekly Newsletter & community listserv (weekly updates on program resources, information, and professional development)

PWR Instructional Policies

Instructors in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) are expected to uphold the highest possible ethical and pedagogical practices. While many of these policies may seem self explanatory, they are explicitly stated for clarity and are designed with instructors and students in mind. 

          I. Policies for Instruction
          II. Policies for Training and Mentoring
          III. University Policies

If an ASE does not meet the requirements stated in the QJDA, the PWR Director will meet with them and outline a set of strategies designed to help them fulfill departmental requirements and the policies below. If the above-mentioned strategies are not met by the end of the next teaching quarter, the instructor will receive a letter from the director detailing requirements that must be met. If the requirements are not met by the end of the next quarter, the instructor may be ineligible to continue their ASE position.

I. Policies for Instruction


You are responsible for providing the following materials to the PWR Program Coordinator in A-11 Padelford or the English Department (Padelford A-101) at the following times:

  • Before each quarter, you must provide your office hours to the department. (Forms are distributed electronically and should be returned promptly.)
  • During the first class meeting, you must provide a current electronic version of your course syllabus and calendar (described in detail below) to the PWR Program Coordinator.
  • After each quarter, you must provide copies of your course evaluations to the PWR Program Coordinator.


It is required of all instructors in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric to provide all students in the course with a course syllabus during the first day of class. The syllabus should include:

  • your name
  • how to contact you
  • office location
  • office hours
  • readings in the course
  • a description of the course
  • a description of the assignments
  • a description of student responsibilities
  • a description of how grades will be figured
  • the "Reaching Out" clause (below)

You can view the Syllabus Basics (link currently inactive) for more information and some pre-written blurbs that satisfy these requirements.

Your specific course policies may overlap with or be in addition to those outlined for all students in PWR courses and posted here. It is suggested that you direct students to the Program in Writing and Rhetoric website.

Along with the syllabus, you must provide all students with a copy of the General Policies that deals with Department and College policies (such as Drops and Incompletes).

Addendum for All PWR Syllabi: Reaching Out

If you have any concerns about the course or your instructor, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the following Program in Writing and Rhetoric staff: Director Stephanie Kerschbaum, or Associate Director of Writing Programs, Carrie Matthews ( If, after speaking with the PWR Director or Associate Director, you are still not satisfied with the response you receive, you may contact the English Department Chair, Habiba Ibrahim;, (206) 543-2690.


Instructors must provide their students with a course calendar indicating due dates. Such a calendar may change over the course of the quarter, resulting in updated calendars being distributed. This policy is meant to keep instructors and students informed and up-to-date about expectations and developments in the class.


All instructors are required to hold a minimum of two office-hours per week, one of which must be in your campus office. One office hour may be virtual or held elsewhere on campus, if you choose. Office hours and locations must be communicated to your students, stated in your syllabus, and updated quarterly with the English Department staff in Padelford A-101.

General guidelines for holding office hours can be found here:


You are required to hold class during all scheduled meeting times. If for some reason you will be unable to hold class, you are required to follow the English Department's Missed Class and Sick Leave Policy listed as #16 below.


As an instructor in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric (109/110, 111, 121, 131, 182, 281, 282, 381, 382), you are expected to hold two writing conferences with students each quarter. The conferences should be 15-20 minutes in duration (or longer if you do group conferences); you may cancel a class period (or part of a class period) to accommodate for writing conferences in your and your students' schedules. This policy is in place to enhance individualized instruction and encourage students to reflect on their work.


A. Assignment Sequences

Instructors are required to assign and provide time for the completion of two major assignment sequences of student work. The assignment sequences should include tasks and activities that allow students to fulfill the learning outcomes for the class.

B. Assignment Pacing

Instructors are required to pace assignment sequences so as to allow students ample time to complete each one and revise for the final portfolio of student work.

C. The Assignments Themselves

Major assignments will be distributed in writing and described orally to students. Assignments must contribute toward an assignment sequence involving such tasks as reading, multiple writing tasks leading toward a final paper, peer review, and revision. This requirement is meant to help instructors structure their classes, to provide continuity between sections, and to provide students with multiple writing and revision opportunities. You can find sample materials on the web page that corresponds to the class you are teaching (see the left side bar for links).


It is expected of instructors that student work will be returned in class in a timely manner. As a general guideline, student work should be returned with comments within a week for shorter projects or two weeks for longer projects after being submitted by students.

At the end of the quarter, if you are teaching a course with a portfolio assessment system (English 131 for instance), you are required to hand back all student work with comments by the last day of scheduled classes. This policy is in place to make sure students have enough time to revise for their portfolios.


Because PWR courses are workshop-based, students will often be asked to share their writing with classmates, and their writing may be used during the course for purposes of discussion and instruction. However, papers students write for the course are their property, and students have legal control over whether they wish their work to be used for teaching purposes beyond the course in which they are currently enrolled. If instructors want to use student work for future instruction, they need to obtain permission using this release form.


Instructors are required to respond to student work throughout the term, but, for 100-level courses, grades on student writing are only to be assigned to a complete portfolio of student work. The portfolio should include all writing from the class (inclusion of in-class writing assignments is left to the discretion of each instructor); prior drafts of major paper assignments, indicating revision; and a critical reflection in the form of either a web essay (for ePortfolios) or a cover letter (for paper-based portfolios). The portfolio should be described in the course syllabus and required to be turned in no later than the designated final time for the class.

The portfolio must account for 70% of final grade.


To ensure that grades are not arbitrary or capricious, they must be in line with

  • the description of assignments, students responsibilities, and grades and grading in your course syllabus, and
  • the PWR learning outcomes

All instructors in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric must grade students based on performance in the course. Upon completion of grading, grades must be submitted on-line by the Quarterly due date. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 protects the privacy of student education records, and prohibits the release of a student's grades to a third party without written consent of the student. FERPA also prevents you from discussing grades with a student via email (even with their permission) due to the unsecure nature of email. To discuss grades, please meet with students in person, use snail mail, or write to students via a secure means, such as through Canvas messaging.


It is the policy of the English Department to report all instances of documented plagiarism to the Office of Student Affairs for review, unless a student elects to waive due process and agrees to an alternative outcome. There are many strategies for preventing plagiarism from happening in the first place through pedagogy and instruction, and the Program in Writing and Rhetoric supports instructors in approaching plagiarism in ways that are both serious and humane and that support long-term mentoring and holistic understanding of students' choices. If you have an instance of suspected plagiarism in your course, please speak with the Program Director or Associate Director about how best to proceed. More information about plagiarism, including its definition, various applications, and consequences, can be found here:

Please note: Although UW's Canvas now includes an option for instructors to filter student papers through Turnitin's "originality checker," the Program in Writing and Rhetoric prohibits the use of Turnitin. The "originality" score that Turnitin generates has little to no pedagogical value, requires a great deal of interpretation to assess and make meaningful, problematically conflates originality (or lack thereof) with plagiarism, creates anxiety among students and an adversarial classroom climate, coerces students to contribute their papers to its database as a condition of assignment submission, and risks violating their intellectual property rights. The Conference on College Composition and Communication Intellectual Property Caucus has recommended against the use of such software:


All instructors in the English Department are required to order and successfully administer course evaluations for each course that is taught. After each quarter that you teach in PWR, email your evaluations to the PWR Program Coordinator (

If your combined median and/or your adjusted combined median are in the low 3s, please do reach out to a PWR admin team member to process your evaluation feedback; if your combined median and/or adjusted combined median are in the 2s, a PWR faculty administrator will reach out to you.

English department policy on ASE student evaluations

Each ASE teaching a course in the English department shall order and administer student evaluations each quarter that they teach (following procedures in the program in which they are teaching) and submit the evaluation report at the conclusion of the quarter to the relevant program director.

Student evaluations for ASE-taught classes are used in the following ways:

  • To understand broader patterns of student experience across a program or over time;
  • To understand where we need to iterate or grow in our programs;
  • To identify when support may be needed on a group or individual level.

The English department does not use student evaluation data to determine ASE teaching appointments or to rank fellowship and award applications. ASEs who apply for teaching awards and other forms of pedagogical recognition may be asked to share student feedback, including course evaluations, but those evaluations are expected to be contextualized as part of a broader teaching portfolio, not treated as self-evident forms of data. 


Instructors are required to get approval of all "I" and "X" grades in Program in Writing and Rhetoric classes. The policy on Incompletes is detailed for students here. As a rule, "I" grades, for incomplete, and "X" grades, for no credit, are strongly discouraged. There are only a few instances in which an "X" is appropriate.

Class size in PWR courses is capped at 23 students (with EOP and MLL writing classes capped at 18). Add codes are not available for PWR instructors.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) mandates that all identifying student information remain confidential unless otherwise (and expressly) permitted by the student. UW Catalyst or Canvas tools have a number of options for instructors who want students to discuss and post work on the web, including Epost, Peer Review, ESubmit, and Share Spaces. All of these tools are restricted to students registered in the course, but the instructor may opt to open Epost and Share Spaces to anybody with a UW NetID and/or invited outsiders. A few PWR instructors have used other freeware blogging and communication software in their PWR courses that are completely open to the public. Asking students to post their writing using such unrestricted, public software violates FERPA, and requires that instructors obtain student consent.

PWR recommends instructors use UW software unless a compelling argument is made for an alternative. Such a case needs to be presented to the PWR director. If an instructor finds that UW resources are limiting, the use of password protected, secure sites (such as WordPress) seem reasonable. If an instructor makes a persuasive case to the PWR director for making blogs or other projects public, then she or he must have students sign consent forms and allow for exceptions if students are uncomfortable posting their work in public either pseudonymously or attributed (for safety or other reasons). Instructors should include in their course description that they will be asking students to blog publicly so students have a chance to opt out.

Instructors should not conduct teaching-related communication with students via social networking sites such as Facebook, etc.

The following section applies to the use of public writing in courses where students work in partnership with community based organizations. This includes English 121 but has relevance to other PWR courses in which students are asked to write with or for community organizations:

An additional public writing policy for PWR is based on English 121's work in asset-based partnership with the CELE Center and community-based organizations. Nearly all public writing assigned in English 121 is done either with or for community partners (flyers, testimonials, newsletter articles, fundraisers, research on areas of interest to the organizations, etc.), so this public writing is already cleared by those agencies for use beyond the classroom. However, in cases where public writing is not done in consultation or collaboration with agencies, but refers to agencies or is based on students' work at those agencies, the English 121 Instructor is responsible for ensuring that writing is cleared by the agencies named or by the CELE Center before it becomes public. Examples of public writing referring to organizations, but not necessarily done with or for organizations, might include policy proposals, wikipedia articles, editorials, letters to the editor, public blogs, myspace pages, etc. Where instructors have not been directly involved in clearing documents with organizations or with the CELE Center for public use, students should submit a signed release from the organization or the CELE Center to the instructor before the writing becomes public.The Family Educational Right and Privacy Act (FERPA) mandates that all identifying student information remain confidential unless otherwise (and expressly) permitted by the student. UW Catalyst has a number of options for instructors who want students to discuss and post work on the web, including GoPost and Dropbox. All of these tools are restricted to students registered in the course, but the instructor may opt to open these tools to anyone with a UW NetID and/or invited outsiders. A few PWR instructors have used other freeware blogging and communication software in their courses that are completely open to the public. Asking students to post their writing using such unrestricted, public software violates FERPA, and requires that instructors obtain student consent.


Instructors are required to hold class during all scheduled meeting times. If you need to miss your class for any reason other than student conferencing (including illness, bereavement, childcare, or academic conferences), the procedures outlined in the Guidelines for Cancelling PWR Classes must be followed.

According to the bargaining agreement between the University of Washington and UAW Local 4121, you are entitled to limited paid leave each academic year. Please note that absences in excess of your leave as outlined in the union contract may result in unpaid leave. You may read more here:


In Spring 2020, in consultation with English department program directors, the associate chair, chair, and Executive Committee, the English Department adopted a policy that all instructors have the option, if they choose, to replace up to 20% of in-person class time with remote instruction. This enables instructors to make use of remote teaching strategies that are resonant with their pedagogical commitments and course design and support their teaching and their students' learning. Please note: Situations that require shifting online because of quarantine or illness are exceptions that do not count within the 20%. For more information, please see the Department's "Guidance for Moving Across Instructional Modalities and Supporting Various Forms of Class Presence."

II. Policies for Training and Mentoring


New instructors are required to attend the Autumn orientation prior to the beginning of classes.

2. ENGLISH 567

It is required of all instructors in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric to successfully complete the practicum course, English 567. This requirement is meant to provide all instructors with a background in composition pedagogy and teaching reading-in-the-service-of-writing.


During finals week of the first Autumn Quarter you teach 131, you are required to attend a group portfolio assessment session (during your first year only). In this session we discuss equitable assessment practices as they apply to the portfolio and your own philosophy. The session will provide value insights on how you assess within the context of our larger teaching community and offer support for equitable and inclusive assessment practices. 


For instructors teaching a course they have taught in the past: In order to stay current with program policies and best practices for teaching, instructors will participate in two training and mentoring events this quarter for up to three hours. Relevant events will be publicized on the Writing Programs web site (see menu on the right side of the page) and instructors can select events that speak to their own teaching interests and needs.


Per University requirements, your class will be observed by the Director or one of the Assistant Directors twice during your first year of teaching--once during Autumn Quarter and once during Winter Quarter. After the observation, you are required to meet with the observer to talk about the class session. Your class will also be observed once during your first quarter of teaching of other classes you might opt to teach in PWR, such as English 109/110, 111, 121, 182, 281, 282, 381, 382.


Upon completion of the first quarter of instruction, each instructor is required to meet with the PWR Director or the Associate Director of Writing Programs during Winter Quarter. This meeting will involve a general discussion and a review of syllabi, student course evaluations, and final grades.

III. University Policies

As an instructor at the University of Washington, you are required to abide by University Policies regarding privacy, sexual harassment, and copyright law. These policies are explained in the UW Policy Directory and at several UW websites.

Areas of particular interest include (but are by no means limited to)...