Teaching a FWIS

Faculty Opportunities

We welcome Rice faculty and instructors who want to teach a FWIS or workshop to share their expertise with our students. We welcome your participation in the First-year Writing-Intensive Seminar (FWIS) program. FWIS affords you a unique opportunity to introduce first-year students to interesting questions or problems in your field of study, to support their transition to college-level writing and speaking, and to shape their early experiences at Rice.


  • Flexibility
  • Design your own syllabus and assignments to achieve FWIS learning objectives
  • Small Enrollment

FWIS courses are capped at 16 first-year students to facilitate relationships between students and faculty, to encourage small group discussion, and to provide students with substantive feedback on their writing, speaking, and visual communication.

Training and Support

  • Participate in a week-long communication pedagogy seminar for first-time FWIS instructors.
  • Meet individually with the PWC's professional staff to get advice about working with first-year students, constructing a FWIS course syllabus, or designing communication assignments.
  • Attend occasional FWIS workshops on special topics such as "Giving Feedback on Writing" or "Working with Second Language Writers."
  • Join the FWIS community and share what you learn about teaching a communication-intensive course with colleagues from across campus.


  • Tenured and tenure-track faculty may choose between a PWC-trained TA, a $3000 research stipend, or a $3000 honorarium.
  • There is also a modest stipend for attending the pedagogy training seminar.


A FWIS is a content-based, three credit-hour seminar that may focus on any academic topic. However, writing and communication pedagogy must play a significant role in the assignments and grading. Instructors design their own syllabi and assignments based on the FWIS learning goals.

At the discretion of individual departments, FWIS courses may count toward major requirements.


  • Write a two to three-paragraph description of your proposed topic.
  • Define course goals related to the content.
  • Review the FWIS learning objectives and explain how your FWIS will be communication intensive.
  • Briefly describe communication assignments.
  • List examples of readings.
  • Indicate scheduling preference (e.g., MWF 10:00-10:50, Fall 2019).
  • Choose incentive.
  • Request your chair’s approval.
  • Submit to Shar'-Lin Anderson, the Program Manager of the Program in Writing and Communication.

The following sample proposals may help in crafting your own.

If you have questions about the FWIS program or would like to discuss your ideas for a course proposal, contact Dr. David Messmer, Director of the FWIS Program.