For the 16th consecutive year, Mason’s Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program has been ranked among the best writing in the disciplines programs in the US by US News and World Reports. In spring 2017, US News invited college presidents, chief academic officers, deans of students and deans of admissions from more than 1,500 schools to nominate up to 10 institutions with stellar examples of writing in the disciplines. Mason was once again included in the final listing.
Mason’s WAC program supports the efforts of faculty across the curriculum to make student writing a priority in course work for the major. Established in 1993, WAC was designed to develop students’ understanding of the writing in their disciplines, as well as their ability to communicate as professionals within their respective fields. The program fosters a number of ideals, but the core of the program advocates that students should have frequent opportunities to write in diverse contexts and for diverse audiences, to receive feedback, and to engage in revision strategies. This foundation helps students to think more creatively and critically, engage more deeply in their learning, and transfer their learning from context to context.
The list of educational institutions ranked by US News and World Reports includes Brown, Cornell, Duke, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and several others.
Congratulations to Mason WAC!
To see the listings, go to:
By Bree McGregor, December 17, 2015
Part 1: Introduction
The National Council of Teachers of English describes digital literacy as “proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology” (The NCTE definition, 2013), which include utilizing a networked, social approach to designing, sharing, analyzing, and synthesizing information, and the application of ethical considerations that such complex environments require. At George Mason University, we strive to embody an innovative spirit at institutional and programmatic levels: Continue reading
At heart, all university campuses are communities of writers.
In Mason’s Writing Across the Curriculum Program, we work with a diverse array of writers. Mason’s students write in multiple contexts, with different styles, and for a variety of purposes. Our faculty teach writing in classrooms, seminars, and as part of their local and global field projects. Students and faculty alike contribute to the literature of their scholarly, research, creative, and professional communities. Continue reading
By: Rachael Burke
Rachael Burke is a second-year Writing and Rhetoric PhD student at George Mason University. Her research centers on empathic articulation and social-emotional design. She has taught composition, ESL, and interdisciplinary studies, and she is currently teaching at GMU and Northern Virginia Community College. You can reach her at email@example.com.
This post is the third in a series on empathy and writing scholarship. For the full series, please see her first post and second post.
When I think about what it means to write collaboratively and productively across the curriculum, I am always attempting to determine which frameworks best help us all define empathy ontologically and pragmatically. Toward this end, in my previous posts, I have attempted to simultaneously advocate for empathy’s inclusion across the curriculum even while I have tried to better define it. Admittedly, this is a complex task, and not just for me. As Daniel Batson (1991) says, “opportunities for disagreement abound” within the framework of empathy’s theoretical uncertainties (p. 11), and even with a “liquid” understanding of empathy (Burke, Permanence and Change, 1965 qtd. in Miller, 1984, p. 158), a firm sense of definition or application can be hard to come by. Continue reading
Interested in utilizing Dr. Thomas Sura’s One Minute Paper in your classroom? Here is a brief instructional video detailing how to implement it. This is a great way to foster reflective thinking in your students concerning their own writing practice, and has the added benefit of allowing you instant feedback on your own teaching practices!
Check out this easy video for speeding up commenting on student work! It’s a great complement to Paul T. Corrigan’s essay on correcting student work. How do you give feedback to students? What works for you?
By Paul T. Corrigan
Paul T. Corrigan teaches writing and literature at Southeastern University, where he serves on the steering committee for Writing Across the Curriculum. He writes at Teaching & Learning in Higher Ed. You can reach him through Facebook, Twitter, and paultcorrigan.com.
Errors in writing may irk and confuse readers, imply ignorance or negligence on behalf of the author, and have unintended consequences in the real world. For these reasons, many teachers feel compelled to try to “cure” students’ writing of errors, often by prescribing heavy doses of red ink. I am grateful for the thankless efforts these teachers make to help students become clearer, more accurate writers. But I bear bad news. There is no cure for errors in student writing. We need to be absolutely clear on this. Short of not writing, students will continue to err, no matter what we do.
But—let me hasten to add—this bad news is also the good news. Continue reading
By: Tom Sura
Tom Sura is an assistant professor of English and the undergraduate writing coordinator at West Virginia University. Tom would love to know if you use one-minute papers in your courses and what discoveries they have led to. You can find him several ways: @tom_sura on Twitter, firstname.lastname@example.org on email, and tomsura.tumblr.com online.
One of the most powerful tools in a teacher’s toolkit—regardless of the discipline—measures just three inches by five inches. That’s right. The standard-issue index card has a remarkable power for increasing student engagement, assessing pedagogy, and providing evidence of exceptional teaching. Continue reading
Writing Portfolio (n.) : Since the mid-1980’s, portfolios—collections of student writing that have been workshopped and revised during a term or over series of terms—have become a fixture in writing classes and programs across the US. These tools are useful for program assessment, but they may have a number of positive pedagogical effects as well, such as increasing students’ attention to the process of effective writing, attuning students to the importance of feedback and audience awareness, allowing students’ ideas (and so work) to mature over time, and presenting opportunities for metacognitive reflection.
For those interested, the following websites offer more information about the use of portfolios in support of undergraduate writing:
Washington State University, Junior Writing Portfolio
University of Massachusetts-Boston, Writing Proficiency Exam and Portfolio
University of Washington-Bothell, IAS Degree Portfolio
– Dr. Michelle LaFrance, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum
Editor, The Writing Campus
Portfolios in the Classroom: A Reflection
By: Cat Mahaffey
Cat is the Associate Director of First-Year Writing in the University Writing Program at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She teaches various levels of Writing and Inquiry in Academic Contexts. She is an avid blogger. Visit her teaching blog at catmahaffey.wordpress.com, follow her on Twitter @CatMahaffey, or email her at email@example.com. Continue reading
by: Mikal Lambdin
Mikal is a senior studying English at George Mason. She previously worked with WAC to create disciplinary writing guides for student use. Mikal is graduating in May 2015! To reach her, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
When first asked to write a blog post about my experience with Mason’s “culture of writing,” I will admit that my first question was “What is a culture of writing?” In response, Dr. Michelle LaFrance, Director of Mason’s Writing Across the Curriculum program, showed me the WAC program website. It reads:
At Mason, the WAC program upholds a campus-wide commitment to student writers, writing-rich coursework, and writing in the disciplines. . . Central to our program’s mission is the belief that when students are given frequent opportunities for writing across the university curriculum, they think more critically and creatively, engage more deeply in their learning, and are better able to transfer what they have learned from course to course, context to context.
Looking back at my own undergraduate experiences, I can clearly see that Mason’s culture of writing had an impact on both my overall education and my development as a writer in many ways. Continue reading