Accomplishments and History
Since its establishment at Georgia State University in 1995, Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) has made remarkable strides in helping to improve the quality of the curriculum. Our greatest accomplishment has been the development of faculty awareness about the role writing can play in teaching, especially about how well-designed writing tasks can serve as a powerful tool for learning. As of 2014, WAC had contributed to curriculum quality in multiple ways:
- 310 faculty members had been trained in WAC theory and methodology, in faculty summer workshops. In addition to using this training to design and teach Writing Intensive courses, WAC-trained faculty have shared their knowledge of WAC pedagogy and theory with other faculty and with graduate students in their home departments through teaching colloquia, in committee meetings, by giving faculty presentations, and in other settings.
- 460 graduate students and 5 advanced undergraduates had been trained and supported, most for multiple semesters, as Writing Consultants for WAC courses. WAC training and experience for graduate students has provided an additional means (and often the only means) by which graduate students from across the university can acquire not only invaluable experience in college teaching but also training in the theory and pedagogy of writing-intensive instruction. They carry this training and experience into their post-graduate academic and professional careers.
- 321 course sections (not including Composition classes) using Writing Across the Curriculum methodology had already been developed and offered by faculty members in 42 departments in our university. And beyond the WAC-sponsored Writing Intensive courses, WAC-trained faculty have often integrated WAC methodology into their other courses as well.
The WAC Program was established directly to fulfill the goal of the University’s Strategic Plan to improve the quality of the curriculum and to improve institutional excellence by having all students take at least one writing intensive (WI) course in their disciplines. Our mission states that the WAC Program prepares Georgia State University students to communicate effectively in academic disciplines and in professional settings. The program’s primary goal comes directly from the 1995 University Strategic Plan:
The undergraduate curriculum should emphasize the importance of writing skills in all disciplines, and to this end the University will initiate a Writing Across the Curriculum program, in which all students will take at least one course designated as writing intensive in their major department at the upper division. (p. 15)
To help implement this goal, the university senate passed a policy (Dec. 5, 2002) that defines the key features in a WI course:
- Writing and revision (including, for example, reports, papers, in-class writing, drafts, sequenced related assignments, journals, or essay exams) represent at least 40% of the course grade.
- Ample opportunities for revision and frequent feedback are offered to students on their writing (including, for example, conferences, peer review, written comments, or a combination of methods).
This policy helps us to identify WI courses because it describes the WAC methods and pedagogy known to help students develop and improve their writing abilities.