“Writing, Learning, Collaboration: A Tale of Two Universities”
It’s been my good fortune to have helped develop two Writing Across the Curriculum programs that have become recognized locally and nationally. The first was at Michigan Technological University, where I was the department head of humanities from 1976 to 1987. The second was at Clemson University, where I founded and coordinated the WAC/CAC program from 1989 until my retirement in 2009. The serendipity of discovering and learning deeply from WAC theory and practice influenced my career as a teacher and program administrator. WAC’s focus on engaged teaching, active student learning and the importance of building community became central to my own professional life. Building communities with students in and beyond classrooms and with faculty in all disciplines on campus was rewarding and essential to WAC program development. The resulting desire to build a national and international community of WAC teachers, scholars and administrators led Clemson University to plan and co-host the first four biennial national WAC conferences (1993, 1995, 1997, 1999) and then again to plan and host IWAC 2006 and IWAC 2023. This will be my WAC story — and yours.
Art Young is the Robert S. Campbell Chair and professor emeritus of English at Clemson University, where he founded and coordinated Clemson’s award-winning communication across the curriculum program (1989-2009). In March 2002, Young received the Exemplar Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication for outstanding achievement in teaching, research and service. Formerly, he was professor and head of the Department of Humanities at Michigan Technological University (1971-1987), where he joined with colleagues to create a nationally recognized writing across the curriculum program (1977-1987). In 1996, Michigan Tech awarded him an honorary Doctor of Sciences and Arts degree for his contributions to WAC locally and nationally. He is the author of numerous book chapters, articles and reviews and is the co-editor of seven books on WAC. He has served as a consultant on WAC to more than 70 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad.
“Tracing WAC’s Braided Trajectory: Community, Practice, Research, and Theory”
From its beginnings over 50 years ago, Writing Across the Curriculum has been understood in several ways, most commonly as a story about learning and teaching. As WAC programs in various forms took hold, communities developed on individual campuses, in the United States and around the world. Indeed, our 2023 conference refers to WAC as a movement. At the same time, WAC has sponsored considerable research, focusing on WAC programs themselves, of course, but also on research exerting considerable influence on higher education, including efforts supporting high impact practices, the teaching of writing, assignment design and its effects and best response strategies. During this time, another major change has occurred, almost without our attending to it explicitly: in our conception of writing. As WAC began, writing was understood principally, though not exclusively, as language; as WAC continued and disciplinary faculty shared their writing practices, writing itself began to look different and to be re-defined, from a language-only practice to a practice also including, even privileging, diagrams and images, sound and movement. Put another way, while WAC’s contributions to the ways we learn and teach are, as Jane Austen would have it, almost universally acknowledged, its contributions to the ways we now understand writing are much less so. In this talk, then, I begin sketching out some of those contributions to the ways we now understand writing.
Kathleen Blake Yancey, Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English and Distinguished Research Professor Emerita at Florida State University, has served as president or chair of several scholarly organizations: the National Council of Teachers of English, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the Council of Writing Program Administrators and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association. Co-founder of Assessing Writing, she is a past editor of College Composition and Communication, and she has also guest edited several journal issues, including for Across the Disciplines. Author or co-editor of 16 scholarly books — among them “Assessing Writing across the Curriculum: Diverse Methods and Practices” and “Writing Across Contexts: Transfer, Composition, and Sites of Writing” — she has authored over 100 articles and book chapters, often with colleagues. Her awards include the Purdue Distinguished Woman Scholar Award, the CCCC Research Impact Award, the FSU Graduate Teaching Award, the CCCC Exemplar Award and the NCTE Squire Award.
“Directions for English Across the Curriculum: Lessons from WAC”
This keynote situates the development and influences of WAC in Hong Kong, where the overwhelming majority of people speak Chinese as their mother tongue and learn English as an additional language, within a (supposed) trilingual and biliterate education system. Many students enter university with public English examination scores that are equivalent to around 50-75 in TOEFL iBT and consequently experience difficulty studying in English as the medium of instruction and assessment. In addition, the packed undergraduate curriculum does not allow much space for the development of academic literacy in English. It is in this context that WAC has grown in Hong Kong and taken the form of English Across the Curriculum. This talk traces the development of EAC by presenting some key milestones and discussing several of the major considerations necessary for positioning EAC to embrace the future. Challenges abound: innovating and transforming while maintaining the current and the past; building capacity for future literacies; leveraging technology and reshaping strategies in the rise of AI; finding continuous resources; generating impact and increasing visibility; managing risks; remaining in the periphery or gaining a foothold in the mainstream; expanding in reach and influence; and strengthening into a sustainable initiative. Hopefully, by finding echoes among WAC communities, this sharing can be the start of conversations and co-explorations to come.
Julia Chen is the director of the Educational Development Centre at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and courtesy associate professor at the Department of English and Communication. Her research interests include English across the curriculum, leveraging technology for education and using learning analytics for quality enhancement. She is the principal investigator of several joint-university projects on EAC and using technology for literacy development. Chen is deeply honored to be selected as a Distinguished Fellow of the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum. She is also a two-time recipient of her university’s top award for excellent performance and a Principal Fellow of Advance HE. The inter-institutional EAC team that she leads received the competitive 2022 Hong Kong University Grants Committee Teaching Award (collaborative team category). Chen was the organizer of three international EAC conferences in 2015, 2018 and 2021 and looks forward to welcoming WAC scholars to the next.
“Linguistic Justice: Rights, Policies, and Practices from a Transnational Perspective”
In this talk, Ligia Mihut proposes and develops a linguistic justice approach as a frame for pedagogies of language pluralism. This approach, she argues, simultaneously and necessarily incorporates at least two moves: on the one hand, it exposes monolingual standards, and on the other hand, it actively integrates cross-cultural rhetorics and translingual writing in the classroom. In a linguistic justice frame, both actions — critique of monolingualism and integration of plurilingual practices and theories — are essential to centering and valorizing linguistically-rich practices. The talk will first introduce theoretical influences and historical background on language rights including Geneva Smitherman’s (1995) work on the background of the “Students’ Right to Their Own Language” statement. It will further discuss how we can move to practices by drawing on research on both multilingual, international scholars teaching in the United States and scholars teaching writing in different disciplines in Eastern Europe. Based on these practices, Mihut will conclude with suggestions on how we can enact a linguistic justice approach through a theoretical, ideological or pedagogical angle or through a multi-layered modality.
Ligia A. Mihut (mee-hootz) is an associate professor of English at Barry University where she teaches first-year composition and multimedia writing courses. Mihut received her Ph.D. in English with a specialization in writing studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her areas of research include immigrant literacies/rhetorics, linguistic justice and transnationalism. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research, Mihut is currently working on a book, “Immigrants, Brokers, and Literacy as Affinity,” exploring literacy’s entanglement in networks of economic and political frames. As the recipient of the 2015-2016 CCCC Research Initiative Award (with Alvarez, Khadka and Sharma), she is also involved in a comparative study of writing practices in four different countries: Romania, Nepal, India and Colombia. Her work has been published in CCC, Literacy in Composition Studies, Reflections and several edited collections.
IWAC 2023 will include a series of pre-conference workshops on Wednesday, June 14, 2023. Attendance at one of these workshops is included with your registration, and an additional workshop can be purchased for $50. Read the workshop abstracts prior to registering so you can select your preferences.