What is the Grad WAC Fellows program?
The WAC Fellows program seeks to explore ways to increase the quantity and quality of teaching writing in classes conducted by graduate teaching assistants in a variety of disciplines across campus. They explore the effectiveness of various pedagogical methods and tools for developing writing practices and assessments that occur in undergraduate classrooms taught by graduate students. Two main pedagogical methods under investigation in this study include Writing Across the Curriculum and Writing In the Disciplines.
Grad WAC Fellows who have completed two semesters in the program are eligible to apply for the Pearce Center’s Professional Practicum in WAC and WID. Fellows in this practicum will expand on the skills learned in Grad WAC Fellows and will put WAC and WID strategies into practice through a variety of writing-focused activities, including making presentations on strategies for writing, revising and communicating in the disciplines.
WAC Fellows is a professional development program for graduate teaching assistants, from ALL disciplines, designed to assist GTAs in increasing the amount and improving the quality of writing that occurs in their undergraduate classrooms. WAC Fellows join a cohort that meets for one or two semesters to discuss writing practices and implement writing assignments. WAC Fellows must apply, interview and, if selected, earn a professional development stipend!
To apply to become a WAC Fellow, please click on the following link and complete the Google form.
The WAC Fellows program helps Clemson University to reestablish practices that support Writing Across the Curriculum and Writing In the Disciplines, using writing as a primary tool in
1. the process of learning,
2. communicating what has been learned,
3. improving critical thinking and
4. building confidence in writing and communicating abilities for various academic, business and public audiences.
Research in the WAC Fellows program will focus on helping graduate students improve teaching and assessing writing in their undergraduate classrooms. They will learn how to implement low-stakes writing, rubric design and assessment strategies within existing syllabi, whether engineering, science, social science, humanities or other discipline.
Fall 2021 Grad WAC Fellows
Oluwadara Abimbade– Education and Human Development
Pan Adhikari– Physics and Astronomy
Ibrahim Adisa– Education and Human Development
Mina Bahadori– Industrial Engineering
Swati Goel– Planning, Design and Built Environment
Chikezie Isiguzo– Policy Studies
Mahesh Koirala– Physics
Ashish Kumar– Civil Engineering
LaToya McDonald– Bioengineering
Ahmad Momeni– Civil Engineering
Jamal Nahofti Kohneh– Civil Engineering
Mojtaba Qanbarzadeh– Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
Martha Lucia Sabogal De La Pava- Industrial Engineering
Mahsa Shabani Samghabady– Mechanical Engineering
Narges Shamabadi– Bioengineering
Morteza Soltani– Industrial Engineering
Eden Wallace– Communication
Stone Washington– Political Science
Andrew Waters– Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
Professional Practicum in WAC and WID Fellows
Sepideh Alasvand– Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences
Reza Anaraky– School of Computing
Arup Bhattacharya– Planning, Design and Built Environment
Olivia McAnirlin– Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
Graduate WAC Fellow Reflections
Amir Malek, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, became involved with the Pearce Center’s WAC Fellow program when he realized there was a serious need for engineering students to improve their writing skills. He loved teaching but found it difficult to grade his students’ work. “I constantly came across assignments that were great content-wise, but they struggle to convey the message due to the lack of writing skills,” said Amir. He assumed this was “the curse of engineering majors” until he became familiar with the Graduate Writing TA Program. “This program made it possible for me to provide my students with engineering-friendly writing tips,” he explained.
As a WAC Fellow, Rachel is constantly working on incorporating written communication into her STEM background. When asked how she got involved in the WAC program, she explained, “As a teaching assistant in biological sciences, I was seeking ways to improve my skills and help my students achieve higher quality writing. When my advisor recommended this position, I knew it was the right fit. I believe it is critical to communicate scientific research effectively, both with other scientists and with the public.” Her top tip for effective writing is to know your audience and then write clearly and briefly for that audience. Rachel also completed her bachelor’s degree at Clemson.
Arup Bhattacharya, a Ph.D. student in the Planning, Design and the Built Environment program, found the WAC fellowship to be an interesting opportunity to learn different ways to include writing in traditionally non-writing intensive courses. As an instructor for a construction estimating class, Bhattacharya encountered students who prepared accurate estimates but could not communicate them efficiently. “Integrating different short writing assessments, I tried to convey to my students what are the things a reader looks for when they go through your report,” he explained. In addition to improving his own writing skills through this fellowship, he learned important insights into evaluating writing and how writers should always consider the audience. “Apart from improving my own scholarly writing expertise, I have found ways through WAC fellowship to pass on that skill to my students so that they also achieve confidence to deliver quality writing,” Bhattacharya said.
Olivia McAnirlin, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Parks,
Recreation and Tourism Management, joined the Pearce Center’s WAC Fellow program to help strengthen her teaching skills in the classroom. McAnirlin wanted to create homework assignments and in-class activities that would teach necessary, transferable skills for the job market, such as writing that conveys a clear message to its audience. McAnirlin shared, “I want students to walk away from a course thinking about how to clearly articulate course content and make it applicable to the real-world. Students may not be writing traditionally, but through press releases, social media posts and emails in the park, recreation and tourism fields.” The Grad WAC Fellow program helped McAnirlin think critically about bringing an increased focus to writing in her classroom and facilitating conversations about the importance of writing in everyday life.