At heart, all campuses are communities of writers. At Mason, the WAC program upholds a campus-wide “culture of writing” via a commitment to student writers, writing-rich coursework, and writing in the disciplines.
The faculty senate appointed Writing Across the Curriculum Committee oversees the Writing Intensive courses, approving and reviewing course syllabi. Good teaching practice is reinforced through faculty development workshops, departmental assessment workshops, and collaboration with other teaching-focused units across the university, including the Mason Core, the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, and the University Writing Center, which provides vital support for student writers.
Central to our program’s 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 program supports the goals laid out in the new Strategic Plan by focusing on writing as a pedagogical tool that enables students to develop critical, analytical, and innovative thinking to address complex social issues, and on faculty development in support of excellence in teaching.
Our program draws on the concept of the “vertical” curriculum: in the designated composition classes (English 101 and English 302), students are asked to reflect on how writing is a form of problem solving in the different communities and disciplines to which they belong. The writing-intensive requirement, a course situated in the majors, introduces students more specifically to the writing and problem-solving methods in their chosen fields.
Our WAC program is guided by the Statement of WAC Principles and Practices.
Our Local Principles
- 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.