The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program at GSU supports faculty in designing and teaching writing-intensive courses across a broad range of disciplines to provide an engaging learning experience for undergraduate students from all backgrounds.
The program also mentors and trains graduate students to serve as WAC Consultants in support of undergraduate student writers. WAC at GSU values writing-intensive instruction as essential to advancing undergraduate and graduate students’ critical thinking skills, disciplinary knowledge, career competencies, and civic capacities within the university and beyond.
Goal #1: To support and collaborate with faculty across disciplines or departments at GSU in reflecting on their teaching, creating pedagogically sound writing assignments, and designing writing-intensive courses to enhance student learning of course content.
The program offers competitive WAC course development grants, workshops, feedback on writing-intensive syllabi and assignments, approval of WAC writing-intensive courses, and the potential for an embedded graduate student WAC Consultant in a writing-intensive course. Through these initiatives, the WAC program provides time, space, and collegial support for talk and exchange of ideas about teaching that cross-disciplinary boundaries.
Goal #2: To prepare graduate students to serve as WAC Consultants for approved WAC writing-intensive courses.
In response to WAC faculty requests, the program appoints graduate students to offer additional disciplinary-based writing support for students enrolled in writing-intensive courses. WAC Consultants attend a workshop where they learn WAC principles, strategies for consulting with student writers, and best practices for providing feedback on student writing. The WAC Consultant program is intended to provide a professional development and mentorship opportunity for department-selected graduate students to learn about disciplinary-based writing and pedagogy.
Goal #3: To partner with key stakeholders and programs across campus to increase the visibility of writing initiatives and to be a leader and advocate for writing at GSU.
The WAC Advisory Board provides an opportunity for the program to partner with key stakeholders, including writing-related GSU administrators, faculty, and graduate consultants, to envision and instantiate a prominent role for writing across multiple platforms and campus programs.
Goal #4: To enhance and sustain writing-intensive instruction as a high-impact educational practice that challenges students to apply their course-based knowledge to real-world problems.
The WAC Program aligns with GSU’s strategic goals to become a national model for undergraduate education that addresses the most challenging issues of the 21st century. WAC also helps advance the work of Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), an Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) campus action initiative with which the University System of Georgia partners.
Applications due Friday, March 1. Grant recipients must attend a two-day, in-person training on the Atlanta campus Thursday, May 2 and Friday, May 3. Contact Jennifer Hall, Acting Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, with questions.
Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) describes a set of pedagogical practices grounded in the premise that writing plays an indispensable role in developing critical thinking skills and learning discipline-specific content, as well as understanding and building competence in the modes of inquiry and dissemination specific to various disciplines and professions.
Research in Writing Studies confirms that writing is a way of enacting disciplinarity, that disciplinary identities are constructed through writing, and that learning to write effectively requires different kinds of practice, time, and effort (Adler-Kasner & Wardle, 2015)—all concepts that are explored in the WAC faculty workshop at GSU.
WAC pedagogy holds that if students are to lay claim to these learning benefits, they must have frequent and significant opportunities to write and revise writing in their classes–from their freshman year to graduation, whatever their major course of study.
College-level WAC programs, therefore, advocate and support university and college-wide adoption of writing as a strong component of all classes in all disciplines, not merely in the composition courses run by English departments. Many WAC programs assist in the development and teaching of writing intensive (WI) courses. WI classes tend to use a variety of kinds of writing to help students build critical thinking skills, learn course material more effectively, and communicate their knowledge.
WAC approaches to learning can invigorate both teaching and student learning. Education research on the use of high-impact educational practices, to include Writing Intensive courses like those promoted by WAC, suggests that they result in increased retention rates and student engagement (Kuh, 2008). Teachers at GSU also report great benefits from training in and adopting WAC teaching methodology.
Ultimately, WAC, at GSU and elsewhere, aims to increase literacy and intellectual capacity across the board, improving the value of college education and paying dividends to society at large by training students in ways that can help them to become better academics, better professionals, and better citizens.
Adler-Kassner, L. & Wardle, E. (2015). Naming what we know: Threshold concepts of writing studies. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.
Kuh, G.D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.
The WAC program offers grants to fund summer curriculum development and to support faculty in (re)designing an undergraduate course to be writing-intensive. To receive the grant, faculty must take part in a two-day workshop to learn about WAC principles and begin designing their writing intensive course.
This workshop emphasizes assignment development, effective responses to student writing, revision strategies for students, managing the workload of a writing-intensive class, and working with graduate writing consultants (optional). Faculty develop their course syllabi and writing assignments over the summer and submit materials for review by the program director at the end of the summer.
The grant award includes a $2,000 summer stipend and support from WAC-affiliated faculty and staff. As conditions for receiving a grant, faculty must be able to do the following:
- attend both days of the training workshop in May,
- work independently on course development over the summer,
- attend follow-up training sessions as necessary,
- teach the course in the 2020-2021 academic year, and
- give a follow-up presentation for future WAC Workshops or report to other faculty members if requested.
The course you propose for the WAC Grant should be one that you'd like to redevelop as writing-intensive during the May workshop; this means the re-designed course will need to:
- be at the undergraduate level,
- typically enroll 25+ undergraduate students,
- allow significant opportunity for revision of student work, and
- take at least 40% of the course grade from writing assignments (including assignments such as papers, reports, in-class drafts, journals, blogs, essay exams, etc.).
Grant Eligibility: Full-time faculty instructors at any of the GSU campuses.
Note: The WAC course development grant is not available to part-time instructors or graduate students employed as Teaching Assistants.
The following applications will be given priority:
- Applications from departments that are under-represented in the WAC program,
- Applications for courses that don’t traditionally use writing as part of their course goals, and
- First-time applicants.
Contact Ashley Holmes, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, with questions.
>>$2,000 Summer Faculty Development Grants: WAC awards annual summer grants to faculty members for the development of writing intensive courses that incorporate writing-to-learn into their classes.
>>Graduate Writing Consultants: WAC works with departments to identify and train graduate student consultants to work with larger classes.
>>Faculty Workshops: WAC faculty workshops focus on the use of writing to teach in all disciplines. An interdisciplinary group participates in seminars on current writing theory and practice. Faculty have the opportunity to discuss assignments and student writing while reflecting on successful teaching practices.
>>Continuous practice with discipline-specific writing, supported by an instructor who combines disciplinary expertise and writing experience.
>>Focused revision and feedback from peers and instructor
>>In-class and informal writing opportunities that encourage writing as a tool for learning.
The WAC Advisory Committee provides an opportunity for WAC faculty, WAC consultants, and writing-related administrators at GSU to receive reports and updates on the WAC program and to offer ideas and suggestions on WAC initiatives. The committee meets twice each semester.
WAC @ GSU would like to recognize and thank the following committee members:
- Lisa Armistead, The Graduate School
- Alexandra Ehoule, Law (WAC Grad Student Consultant Representative)
- Jamin Letcher, Neuroscience
- Storm Murray, English (WAC Graduate Assistant)
- Samantha Parks, Biology
- Sean Richey, Political Science
- Marlena Salters, Psychology
- Sutandra Sarkar, Math
- Eric Sevigny, Criminal Justice & Criminology
- Lisa Shannon, Africana Studies
- Megan Sinnott, Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
- Claudette Tolson, History & Political Science
- Liping Yang, English (WAC Grad Assistant)