Central to our WAC mission is the belief that when students are given frequent opportunities for writing across the university curriculum, they think more critically and creatively, engage more deeply in their learning, and are better able to transfer what they have learned from course to course, context to context. The WAC mission forwards goals laid out in the university mission statement by focusing on writing as a pedagogical tool that enables students to develop critical, analytical, and imaginative thinking to address complex social issues, and on faculty development in support of excellence in teaching.
The most visible components of our program are: the writing-intensive requirement in the major, with oversight by the WAC Committee, appointed by the Faculty Senate; the advanced composition in the disciplines (English 302) requirement; and writing-infused programs across the curriculum. Good teaching practice is reinforced through faculty development workshops, departmental assessment workshops, and collaboration with other teaching-focused units across the university, including CTE,TAC, CTAC, and the University Writing Center, which provides vital support for student writers. Additionally, this website and the Teaching With Writing Across the Curriculum newsletter celebrate and support faculty efforts in teaching with writing.
Our WAC program is guided by the following key principles and goals for student writers.
- Writing is an important tool for learning and discovery as well as for conveying what has been learned and discovered
- Students gain proficiency as writers when they have frequent opportunities to write in courses across the curriculum, addressing a range of audiences and practicing the genres typical of their majors and the workplaces they will enter.
- Faculty across the curriculum share responsibility for helping students learn the conventions and rhetorical practices of their disciplines.
- Students benefit from having opportunities to revise based on meaningful feedback from their teachers, that is, feedback that teaches and provides direction rather than focusing solely on error.
- Writing instruction must be continuous throughout students’ undergraduate education.
WAC Goals for Student Writers
While the learning and writing outcomes expected of students are always particular to courses and majors, most writing-intensive course(s) share the following goals for students in the major:
- To analyze and synthesize course content using methods appropriate to the major;
- To make reasoned, well organized arguments with introductions, thesis statements, supporting evidence, and conclusions appropriate to the major;
- To use credible evidence, to include, as applicable, data from credible primary and/or secondary sources, integrated and documented accurately according to styles preferred in the major;
- To employ a range of appropriate technologies to support their researching, reading, writing, and thinking, with particular attention to the ways that advanced students and professionals locate, analyze, organize, and share information;
- To employ rhetorical strategies suited to the purpose(s) and audience(s) for the writing, to include appropriate vocabulary, voice, tone, and level of formality;
- To produce writing that employs the organizational techniques, formats, and genres (print and/or digital) typical in the major and/or workplace;
- To produce writing that demonstrates proficiency in Standard Edited American English, including correct grammar/syntax, sentence structure, word choice, and punctuation.