What is Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), and How Does it Benefit Students?
According to the Statement of WAC Principles and Practices, endorsed by the International Network of WAC Programs (INWAC),
… WAC refers to the notion that writing should be an integral part of the learning process throughout a student’s education, not merely in required writing courses but across the entire curriculum. Further, it is based on the premise that writing is highly situated and tied to a field’s discourse and ways of knowing, and therefore writing in the disciplines (WID) is most effectively guided by those with expertise in that discipline. WAC also recognizes that students come to the classroom with a wide range of literacy, linguistic, technological, and educational experiences, but that all students can learn to become more proficient writers.
WAC as an initiative can be transformative for learning, teaching, and research. For students, WAC promotes engaged student learning, critical thinking, and greater facility with written communication across rhetorical situations. For teachers, WAC promotes thoughtful pedagogy and curriculum design as well as community among faculty that transcends disciplinary boundaries. For researchers in writing studies and across the disciplines, WAC promotes cross-disciplinary scholarship on teaching and learning, as well as scholarship on the values and ways of thinking in the disciplines and the ways those ideas and actions are communicated in writing.
Read the entire Statement of WAC Principles and Practices
Additional Information about WAC
Why Include Writing in my Courses?
- Writing as a Mode of Learning
by Janet Emig, College Composition and Communication
Writing represents a unique mode of learning – not merely valuable, not merely special, but unique. Writing serves learning uniquely because writing as process-and-product possesses a cluster of attributes that correspond uniquely to certain powerful learning strategies.
- Writing to Learn Means Learning to Think
By Syrene Forsman, Roots in the Sawdust: Writing to Learn Across Disciplines
As teachers we can choose between (a) sentencing students to thought-less mechanical operations and (b) facilitating their ability to think. If students’ readiness for more involved thought processes is bypassed in favor of jamming more facts and figures into their heads, they will stagnate at lower levels of thinking. But if students are encouraged to try a variety of thought processes in classes, they can, regardless of their ages, develop considerable mental power. Writing is one of the most effective ways to develop thinking.
- Writing, Thinking: A Critical Connection
By Mark James Miller, Santa Maria Times
In one recent study, 63 percent of employers said new employees lack the ability to think critically and solve problems. In another, employers complained that new, bachelor-degree-holding employees lacked “the ability to solve complex problems.” A management consulting firm working with high-tech companies describes new applicants as “woefully unprepared” for the working world. “It’s not a matter of technical skills, but of knowing how to think.”
Writing Activities & Assignment Ideas
Communication & Journalism
Grading and Responding to Student Writing
Helping Students Succeed
Increasing Student Motivation with Writing Assignments (from University of MN)
Using Peer Review to Improve Student Writing (from University of MI)
Teaching Citation and Documentation Norms (from University of MI)
What’s Grammar Got to Do With It?: The Whys & Hows of Working with Issues of Correctness in Writing (from University of MN)
Working with Multilingual Writers