Across the Disciplines, a refereed journal devoted to language, learning, and academic writing, publishes articles relevant to writing and writing pedagogy in all their intellectual, political, social, and technological complexity. Across the Disciplines shares the mission of the WAC Clearinghouse in making information about writing and writing instruction freely available to members of the CAC, WAC, and ECAC communities.
ATD provides CAC researchers, program designers, and teachers interested in using communication assignments and activities in their courses with a venue for scholarly debate about issues of disciplinarity and writing across the curriculum. The journal embraces a broad commitment to cross-disciplinary emphases in writing studies and invites relevant submissions from individuals in all fields of inquiry. ATD is a quarterly publication.
Current Issue: Volume 20, Issue 1/2
Published December 6, 2023
This issue of ATD features three research studies and a book review. No single thread ties the articles together, but they do share a likely relevance for readers responsible for faculty development in WAC/WID contexts. One article focuses on content-specialist STEM writing fellows’ views of writing. Another explores the language that students and faculty alike use when describing reading practices. And the last article reports findings from a study of faculty views on linguistic diversity, both in class and in student writing. Lastly, Karen Starkowski reviews The Writing Studio Sampler: Stories about Change, edited by Mark Sutton and Sally Chandler and published in 2018.
Introduction to Volume 20, Issue 1/2
Michael J. Cripps
Undergraduate Writing Fellow Conceptions of Writing-to-Learn and Quality of Writing
Solaire A. Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Jennifer A. Schmidt-McCormack, Field M. Watts, Anne Ruggles Gere, & Ginger V. Shultz
Undergraduate writing fellows play an important role in administering writing assignments in writing-intensive courses. At the University of Michigan, the MWrite program was designed to support the implementation of writing-to-learn (WTL) assignments in STEM courses. Within MWrite, writing fellows are a primary instructional resource for students and help evaluate students’ writing. As such, it is important to characterize writing fellows’ beliefs about both WTL and writing more generally. In this study we interviewed writing fellows for MWrite courses in biology, chemistry, economics, and statistics about how they conceptualize WTL and writing quality. Our analysis indicates that writing fellows conceptualize WTL as supporting a range of content-focused learning outcomes and as featuring specific rhetorical elements that make WTL assignments successful. Most writing fellows discussed the importance of higher-order characteristics when evaluating the quality of students’ writing, but also placed importance on the lower-order characteristics. Our results indicate that the writing fellows are internalizing the MWrite pedagogy with respect to WTL, but that their conceptions of writing quality appear to be informed by their experiences with writing more broadly. These findings support the use of writing fellows during the implementation of WTL in STEM courses that traditionally present barriers to using writing assignments. More generally, they indicate the potential for writing fellows’ conceptions to support the aims of the writing fellows program of which they are part.
Seeing Reading: Faculty and Students in First-Year Experience Courses Visualize Their Reading Practices
Ann C. Dean
Scholars in college learning and writing studies have argued that reading has an image problem: we have trouble “seeing” it. This study contributes to making reading visible by collecting a series of images used by faculty and students enrolled in first-year experience courses. Qualitative analysis of interviews with five faculty and 34 students focused on these research questions: a) how do faculty and students describe the role of reading in first-year experience courses? b) do faculty and students differ in their descriptions of reading? and c) do groups of students differ in their descriptions of reading? In the interviews, participants repeatedly used spatial images: mirrors, boxes, classrooms, maps, and landscapes. My analysis grouped these images into two categories: readers outside texts and readers inside texts. I argue that using such images to describe reading is an important activity for first-year students, and that it a central element of course design and classroom discussion for faculty who teach first-year experience courses.
A Dual Mission: Antiracist Writing Instruction and Instructor Attitudes about Student Language
Adrienne Jankens, Clay Walker, Linda Jimenez, Mariel Krupansky, Anna E. Lindner, Anita Mixon, & Nicole Guinot Varty
This article presents the results of a 2021 survey and interview study of faculty teaching writing-intensive (WI) courses across disciplines at an urban research university. We emphasize the need to understand the complexities of instructors’ ideologies about teaching writing and their attitudes about student language prior to engaging faculty development in antiracist writing instruction. Specifically, we demonstrate a “difficult dual mission” in faculty development in teaching writing: writing intensive instructors want to value non-standard forms, but they can't stop valuing the standard forms. We argue that identifying the nuance of this too-familiar argument is the first step in the research and relationship-building required to change university discourse such that the WI classroom supports linguistic diversity. In our summary of surveys and interviews with writing-intensive faculty, we emphasize three major focal points to illustrate the manifestation of this dilemma: instructors’ profiles as WI instructors, specifically; their attitudes toward language [generally] in WI courses; and their attitudes toward students’ actual language performances in WI courses.
Review of The Writing Studio Sampler: Stories about Change, edited by Mark Sutton & Sally Chandler. (2019). University Press of Colorado. 217 pages. [ISBN 978-1-60732-896-4]
Reviewed by Gabriella Wilson, Syracuse University
Publishing in Across the Disciplines
The mission of Across the Disciplines is to provide information for— and an opportunity for interaction among—scholars interested in writing, speaking, reading, and communication across the curriculum (CAC). We welcome contributions of the following kinds:
- articles (both linear and hypertext) on CAC theory, practice, and research
- reviews of publications addressing CAC theory, practice, and research
- papers formerly presented at scholarly conferences but not published elsewhere
Authors are encouraged to ground the texts they review within ongoing conversations of interest to ATD readers, WAC/WID researchers, and writing studies scholars, drawing on published literature to establish the scope and nature of that ongoing conversation. ATD does not publish articles that focus solely on describing a program, an assignment, or a sequence of assignments; such descriptions, when included, must be a central component of an empirical study or theoretical discussion.
For more information about submitting to this and other journals and book series available through the WAC Clearinghouse, please see the Clearinghouse's Invitation to Contribute.
ATD Special Issues
Across the Disciplines regularly publishes special issues that focus the community on a specific topic area and offer readers a range of perspectives by scholars working in that specific area.
If you would like to serve as guest editor for a special issue, or if you would like to suggest a topic for a special issue, please contact Michael J. Cripps, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 602-2908.