Writing Across the Curriculum
The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) initiative is designed to encourage Western faculty members from across the college to integrate writing into their curriculum (as a learning activity and/or form of assessment) by increasing awareness of the value of writing and by empowering faculty to create assignments and evaluate writing in their classrooms.
Tracy Helixon and Linda Duffy of the Communication Skills Department are available to offer the following services to faculty members:
- Review writing assignments and offer feedback.
- Visit a class to discuss key concepts with students.
- Create resources for all Western faculty members to use.
- Consult with faculty members on any writing-related topic.
Please email Tracy and Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Articles About Writing Assignments in the Classroom:
- “Academic Literacy: The Importance and Impact of Writing Across the Curriculum” by Defazio et al. Defazio et al (2010)
- “A Collective Effort to Improve Sociology Students’ Writing Skills” by Burgess-Proctor et al. The Burgess-Proctor et al (2014)
- “Reforming General Education: Three Reasons to Make Writing Across the Curriculum Part of the Conversation” by Hanstedt http://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/reforming-general-education-three-reasons-make-writing-across
Establishing expectations that writing will be a part of most courses at Western is an important part of changing preparing students. Consider using this text as part of your course syllabus:
Western Technical College’s mission is to “provide relevant, high quality education, in a collaborative and sustainable environment, that changes the lives of students and grows our communities.” As part of that mission, Western has developed core abilities that every graduate is expected to demonstrate. One core ability is to “use effective communication skills” in both speaking and writing. Because writing is a skill best developed over time—and a skill that is essential to success in the workplace—students can expect writing tasks in many general studies and program courses. Students are expected to practice strategies for clear and effective writing in all of their courses, and the quality of written work may be a factor in an assignment’s grade.
Developing Clear Writing Assignments Checklist:
The attached checklist provides guidance for instructors who are developing writing assignments and want to establish clear expectations about the content, organization, and quality of written work. Consider using this checklist to help design your next writing assignment:
- Handout: Writing Assignment Checklist
Sample Rubric Section Assessing Writing Skills:
Another way to convey clear expectations about the need for good writing skills and to help students be successful is to share with students how their written work will be assessed. Consider adding these assessment criteria to your assignment descriptions and/or grading rubrics:
- Handout: Sample Writing Rubric
Resources for Instructors to Use with Students:
Please feel free to use and/or reproduce any of these materials for use in a Western Technical College classroom:
Resources to Promote Strong Essay/Paragraph Structure:
- Video: Organizing Written Assignments (Part One: Thesis Statements)
- Video: Organizing Written Assignments (Part Two: Topic Sentences)
- Video: Organizing Written Assignments (Organizing Paragraphs)
Resources to Promote Correct Use of Sources:
- Video Series: Using Sources
- Handout: Introduction to Using Sources
- Video Series: Documenting Sources (MLA & APA)
- Web Site: Guidelines for Using MLA (Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab)
- Web Site: Guidelines for Using APA (Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab)
- Video Series: Using APA Citation Style (Purdue University’s Six-Part Video Series)