Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) is an educational reform movement that has been promoting writing as a mode of learning and as an activity central to critical thinking in institutions of higher education since the early 1980s. As WAC scholar Dr. Barbara Walvoord has noted, Writing is so complex an activity, so closely tied to a person's intellectual development, that it must be nurtured and practiced over all the years of a student's schooling and in every curricular area. One of the main tenets of WAC is that learning to write is a lifelong process, a process that cannot take place in a single course or a single semester but extends across a student's academic career and beyond. WAC is also a movement that creates and sustains community among college teachers, as it opens space and opportunity for faculty to come together to share insights and questions about fostering student writing.
WAC pedagogy focuses on integration of writing into courses across the curriculum, in order to enhance learning as well as foster development of student writing across their academic career. WAC pedagogy is often talked about as falling along two lines, Writing to Learn and Writing to Communicate (also called Learning to Write; or Writing in the Disciplines)
a.) Writing to Learn: writing is an important means of learning, by which students can analyze, explore and apply course content in meaningful ways. Writing-to-learn activities include journaling, class letters, ticket-to-enter, ticket-to-leave,
b.) Writing to Communicate (or, Learning to Write): writing is a communicative process which occurs in and across communities and which requires that the writer understand the needs and expectations of an audience with regard to subject matter, elements of support, genre, stylistic choices, etc.
Its Place in BSU's Curriculum
At Bridgewater State University, a systematic reorganization of the general education requirements mandates that, starting with the freshman class entering in September 2006, writing-intensive courses must be taken in several areas of every students curriculum: in the form of a writing-intensive First Year Seminar, Second Year Seminar (which could instead be speaking-intensive), a core curriculum distribution course, and a course in the students major.
The new general education requirements define a writing-intensive course as one which requires at least 15 pages of writing, in any arrangement (such as in three 5-page papers, five 3-page papers, etc.). Writing-intensive courses also foster revision by incorporating teacher and/or peer feedback to writing-in-process.
BSUs writing-intensive courses make use of WAC practices meant to support course learning goals in disciplines across the curriculum. Writing to Learn activities provide students with opportunities to manipulate, query, and synthesize course content, while Writing to Communicate practices integrate disciplinary content knowledge and writing knowledge so that students become more adept at discipline-specific ways of communicating through writing.
Last Modified: November 15, 2010