The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Center Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Handouts

Writing Across the Curriulum (WAC) Key Notions

Fictions:

1. Writing is simply a skill that can be mastered once and for all.
2. WAC consists of adding a few writing assignments to existing syllabi.
3. WAC programs aim to improve students’ writing by emphasizing a back-to-basics approach to instruction.
4. WAC programs stress the traditional term paper as the major vehicle for improving students’ writing in a course.
5. WAC programs advocate long extensive writing assignments and usually require a set number of pages for each student to produce.
6. WAC programs primarily emphasize the surface “correctness” of a piece of writing.
7. WAC programs promote the notion that instructors are the only appropriate audience for students’ writing assignments.
8. WAC programs represent an intrusion by English faculty into disciplines of which they have little knowledge.
9. WAC programs concentrate primarily on the students’ final product.
10. WAC programs increase instructors’ workloads.

Facts:

1. Writing, thinking, and learning are lifelong activities that are inextricably tied to one another.
2. WAC aims to change the ways in which students learn (and instructors teach).
3. WAC programs aim to improve students’ learning (and writing) by emphasizing writing as an effective means of mastering subject matter.
4. WAC programs stress some form of writing during each class meeting as one way of improving students’ understanding (and writing) in a course.
5. WAC programs advocate a variety of writing assignments, often short responses that nevertheless require a great deal of thinking.
6. WAC programs emphasize clarity of expression and complexity of thought, along with an adherence to the conventions and mechanics of writing.
7. WAC programs promote the notion that classmates, along with instructors, are an appropriate audience for student writing.
8. WAC programs are guided by the belief that writing is integral to ALL disciplines and that professionals in those disciplines are the experts.
9. WAC programs offer students the opportunity to revise many writing tasks.
10. WAC programs change instructors’ workloads.