JBAC Letter to Senior Academic Officers Regarding WR 115 (March, 1999)


Oregon Institute of Technology
Office of the President
3201 Campus Drive
Klamath Falls, OR 97601

Date: March 8, 1999

To: Provosts and Chief Academic/Instructional Officers, Oregon University System Institutions and Oregon Community Colleges

From: Martha Anne Dow, Chair, Joint Boards Articulation Commission (President, Oregon Institute of Technology)

Re: Review WR 115 Courses by June 15, 1999, Regarding Resolution of Transferability Issues

During the 1997-98 academic year, and continuing into the present academic year, the Joint Boards Articulation Commission (JBAC) has been examining [with the assistance of the Student Transfer Committee (STC, a JBAC subcommittee) and the Oregon English and Writing Advisory Committee (OWEAC)] issues surrounding the transferability of WR 115 courses between post-secondary institutions. The purpose of this memo is to provide you with a review of the history, discussions, and decisions which have been made in this area - and to enlist your assistance in the final phase of the process.

WR 115 was originally disallowed as a course eligible for inclusion in the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer Degree (AA/OT) since its history was such that it was not deemed to be "college level" (despite the course number which would suggest that it is). It is, however, a widely-offered course. During 1997-98, 10 of 13 Oregon community colleges offered WR 115 (4 community colleges are service districts and tied to one of the 13 for their curriculum), as did 5 of the 7 OUS campuses. Currently, some OUS institutions accept WR 115 for transfer credit and some do not. The STC, as part of its charge from the JBAC last year, consulted with OWEAC on the status of WR 115, requesting that group to suggest an alternative course number (presumably below 100). OWEAC, upon examining the WR 115 courses in existence, reported that this course number is used for courses that both are college level as well as those that are not (i.e., "remedial" or "developmental" in nature). OWEAC recommended that the "college level" courses keep their WR 115 designation (and be legitimately eligible for transfer between institutions) and those that are not college level be renumbered to WR 99 (or some other, standardized number below 100). OWEAC understood that this recommendation would be carried back to their individual campuses, with a course number change taking place, after campus review, if appropriate. OWEAC forwarded tentative course descriptors for each (WR 115 and WR 99) to the JBAC, as well as "suggested outcomes" for a first-year college level writing sequence.

On the basis of this examination of WR 115 by OWEAC and the STC, the JBAC recommended to the Joint Boards of Education (at the November 20, 1998 meeting) that the AA/OT guidelines be amended to include WR 115 as an elective (as long as that WR 115 was on an approved list of "college level" courses). The Joint Boards approved this recommendation.

I am requesting your assistance in the last and most critical phase of this process: a campus-level review of your WR 115 course.

As I understand it, the OWEAC discussions of WR 115 did not lead to large-scale review and/or renumbering of any WR 115 course. Hence, there is still hesitancy on the part of some to accept WR 115 as transfer credit. In one recent case I am aware of, an AA/OT degree was "unwrapped" to disallow a WR 115 course appearing on a student's transcript.

I am attaching, with this memo, the proposed course descriptors from OWEAC. The "below-100" course (JBAC recommends that it be "WR 95" to parallel mathematics courses) title is suggested to be "College Writing Fundamentals" and WR 115 to be "Introduction to College Writing." Also attached is a copy of "WPA '98 Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition." ("WPA" is the National Council of Writing Program Administrators.) These guidelines propose outcomes for the entire first year of college writing. The outcomes, then, of any WR 115 course would be a subset of these suggested first-year outcomes.

After the institutional review of your WR 115 course is completed, please forward to me the results, in writing, by June 15, 1999. (Send to: Martha Anne Dow, President, Oregon Institute of Technology, 3201 Campus Drive, Klamath Falls, OR 97601)

If the assessment of your WR 115 is "college level," then please notify me to that effect. If your WR 115 is not college level, please outline your plans to renumber the course, the probable course number and title, and the anticipated implementation date of the change.

Once the results are in hand, I will share this information with each of you, the OUS Chancellor's Office, the Office of Community College Services, and the JBAC.

Thank you very much for your attention to resolving this matter in a timely way.

cc: Shirley Clark, OUS
Jim Arnold, OUS
Elaine Yandle-Roth, OCCS
JBAC members
OWEAC members


Return to JBAC Home Page


Joint Boards Articulation Commission Page by Jim Arnold, Director of Community College Articulation, Oregon University System

Send mail to Joint Boards Articulation Commission

Revised: March 9, 1999
URL: http://www.ous.edu/aca/WR115letter.htm