What is WAC?
Broadly defined, Writing Across the Curriculum, or WAC, is the American outgrowth of a higher education reform effort originating in Britain in the 1970s. WAC is guided by the conviction that strong connections exist between writing, thinking, and learning. As John C. Bean writes in Engaging Ideas, in this view "writing is both a process of doing critical thinking and a product communicating the results of critical thinking" (3). In practice, WAC emphasizes the use of writing-to-learn techniques, through assignments designed to help students develop, concomitantly, the interrelated skills of thinking and writing. A WAC-based curriculum in any discipline will therefore be attentive not just to how much writing students are doing, but to what kind of writing they are doing
What is the role of WAC at Hunter College?
In 1999, the CUNY Board of Trustees mandated a university-wide initiative to implement WAC at the colleges. The mandate encourages the colleges to develop their own strategies for implementing WAC, such as Writing Intensive courses.
At Hunter, WAC is administered through the Writing Across the Curriculum Program, and includes the Writing Fellows program, the services of the Reading/Writing Center, and faculty development efforts, such as workshops offered in conjunction with the Teaching Learning Center. The Significant Writing requirement at Hunter is served by designated "W" courses offered throughout the disciplines, in which writing with teacher feedback (not including exams) comprises at least fifty percent of the students' grades. Hunter students are required to take at least three "W" courses throughout their college career. Faculty in the Significant Writing program, as well as those faculty interested in developing WAC-based assignments for their classes, may wish to consult with WAC's co-coordinators, Dennis Paoli and Trudy Smoke.
How can I incorporate WAC techniques in my classroom?
Consider about how best to build writing into your course's curriculum, and to design written assignments to maximize student engagement with the course material. Consider including different types of writing tasks that require students to approach the material from different perspectives, and reflect on your expectations for successful completion of written assignments. WAC Program staff are available for consultation and assistance in such efforts. Also, you can utilize WAC-related services offered through the Reading/Writing Center, such as in-class visits, workshops, peer tutoring for students, and handout materials for students and faculty. We also suggest that you visit the Reading/Writing Center's useful library of WAC-related publications (see Available Readings on WAC).
For more information, please stop by at the Reading/Writing Center, on the fourth floor of Thomas Hunter, or contact:
Coordinator, The Reading/Writing Center
& Hunter WAC Program
phone: ext. 4014
Prof. Trudy Smoke
English Dept., & Coordinator,
Hunter WAC Program
phone: ext. 5742