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.
Table of Contents for Volume 16, January through December 2019
Issue 4 (July through December)
Editor's Introduction to Volume 16, Issue 4
Michael A. Pemberton, Georgia Southern University
Data Power in Writing: Assigning Data Analysis in a General Education Linguistics Course to Change Ideologies of Language
Valentina Fahler and Charles Bazerman, University of California Santa Barbara
This study examines the intellectual consequences of writing about data in relation to disciplinary concepts. Drawing on data from written assignments and surveys completed by students, as well as course documents and interviews with an instructor and TAs, this study reveals that the students in varying ways and to varying degrees came to see language use and language users in more disciplinarily sophisticated ways and to discard stereotyping, discriminatory, or stigmatizing beliefs they might have held. The students also to varying degrees came to understand the nature of linguistic data and methods. Further, there were varying interactions between the experience with data and the exposure to disciplinary concepts, based on prior academic and non-academic experiences, as well as individual dispositions toward learning. Findings suggest that students learning to select, represent, and analyze data in answering disciplinary questions and arguing for disciplinary conclusions in their writing are significant parts of their development as academic writers.
WID Course Enhancements in STEM: The Impact of Adding "Writing Circles" and Writing Process Pedagogy
Tereza Joy Kramer, St. Mary's College of California, Joe Zeccardi, St. Mary's College of California, Rebecca Concepcion, Pacific University, Chi-An Emhoff, St. Mary's College of California, Steve Miller, St. Mary's College of California, Krista Varela Posell, St. Mary's College of California
This study reports on a quantitative assessment of enhancements to a Writing in the Disciplines course in Kinesiology. The assessment coded student writing produced in semesters before and after a Kinesiology course was enhanced with both iterated peer review groups and writing-process scaffolding. Analysis of the results revealed significantly higher scores in five Learning Outcomes developed to align with the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing (2011). These findings offer quantitative evidence that adding writing-process pedagogy and iterated peer review improves student outcomes in both writing and critical thinking.
Tracking the Sustainable Development of WAC Programs Using Sustainability Indicators: Limitations and Possibilities
Michelle Cox, Cornell University, and Jeffrey R. Galin, Florida Atlantic University
Sustainable WAC: A Whole Systems Approach to Launching and Developing Writing Across the Curriculum Programs lays out a systematic whole systems approach to program development that draws on complexity theories and integrates the use of sustainability indicators (SIs) for monitoring and assessing program sustainability. However, the SI part of the whole systems approach methodology may be overly burdensome and even premature for assessing the sustainability of smaller and younger WAC programs. Further, aspects of the SI methodology need clarification to be useful to the larger WAC programs that would benefit from its use. This article provides important correctives to and elaborations of the treatment of SIs in Sustainable WAC that will help WAC program directors more effectively decide whether and how to use this tool as part of a whole systems approach to develop more sustainable and impactful WAC programs.
A Review of Next Steps: New Directions for/in Writing about Writing, by Barbara Bird, Doug Downs, I. Moriah McCracken, and Jan Rieman. (2019). Logan, UT: Utah State University Press. 293 pgs. [ISBN 978-1607328414]
A review by Alissa Winn, University of South Carolina, Columbia
A Review of Two Edited Collections on Student Writing Transfer: Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer, Edited by Chris M. Anson and Jessie L. Moore. (2017). Fort Collins, CO: The WAC Clearinghouse, Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. 370 pages [ISBN 978-1-60732-647-2.]; and Understanding Writing Transfer: Implications for Transformative Student Learning in Higher Education, Edited by Jessie L. Moore and Randall Bass. (2017). Sterling, VA: Stylus. 165 pages, including index. [ISBN 978-1-62036-585-4]
A review by Lacey Wootton, American University
A Review of Sojourning in Disciplinary Cultures: A Case Study of Teaching Writing in Engineering, Edited by Maureen A. Mathison. (2019). Logan, UT: Utah State University Press. 226 pgs., including index. [ISBN 978-1607328025]
A review by Adam Padgett, University of South Carolina
Issue 3 (Special Issue: From the Margins to the Centre: Writing Across the Curriculum in Australia and New Zealand)
Guest editors: Susan Thomas, University of Sydney, Karen Vered, Flinders University, and Lisa Emerson, Massey University
The histories and pedagogies surrounding writing and literacy studies in Australasia are complex, given a diversity of theoretical approaches and little consensus on regional (or national) priorities. Despite more than thirty years of advocacy by scholars in Australia and New Zealand, writing and literacy are all but invisible disciplines in Australasia, and the focus is often more on remediation than on anticipating students' literacy needs as an integral aspect of their learning. With an ever-increasing focus on globalization and sustainability, however, discussions around writing as a meaning-making practice and a way of being in the world have never been more timely. Responding to this impetus, in late 2016, Karen Orr Vered (Flinders University), in consultation with colleagues Rowena Harper (University of South Australia) and Susan Thomas (University of Sydney), brought together a group of scholars from across Australia and New Zealand to share their individual and institutional perspectives on the directions that student literacy development in Australasia might take next and to describe what the horizon looks like from different positions within universities across Australia and New Zealand. From the "Margins to the Centre: The Future of University Literacy Support and Writing across the Curriculum" was a one-day symposium hosted by Flinders University to showcase and interrogate a variety of boundary-crossing, collaborative, whole-of-institution approaches to student literacy development, and the policies behind them. The papers in this special issue, case studies exploring how a theoretical or pedagogical approach has been implemented in the Australasian context, represent just some of the work to come out of that symposium.
From the Margins to the Centre: Whole-of-Institution Approaches to University-Level Literacy and Language Development in Australia and New Zealand
Karen Orr Vered, Flinders University, Susan Thomas, University of Sydney, and Lisa Emerson, Flinders University
From the Margins to the Centre: Reflections on the “Past-Present-Future” of Literacy Education in the Academy
Alisa Percy, University of Wollongong
On the Borderline: Writing about Writing, Threshold Concepts of Writing, and Credit-Bearing Academic Writing Subjects in Australia
Andrew Johnson, Monash University
Skills for Citizenship? Writing Instruction and Civic Dispositions in Aotearoa New Zealand
Hannah Gerrard, Massey University
Experiences of Publishing in English: Vietnamese Doctoral Students’ Challenges and Strategies
Thi Van Yen Hoang and Lai Ping Florence Ma, Macquarie University, Australia
Using Shared Inquiry to Develop Students’ Reading, Reasoning, and Writing in the Disciplines
Sandra Egege and Karen Orr Vered, Flinders University
The WAC-driven Writing Center: The Future of Writing Instruction in Australasia?
Susan Thomas, The University of Sydney
Issue 2 (January through June)
How STEM Majors' Evaluations of Quantitative Literacy Relate to Their Imagined STEM-Career Futures
Justin Nicholes, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Framed by future-selves motivational theory, the present study explored intersections of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students’ evaluations of everyday and disciplinary quantitative literacy (QL) and how students imagined their STEM-related, future career selves. A quantitative design using data set-appropriate Spearman’s rho tests of association was used. Results showed that students’ evaluations of everyday QL correlated positively with evaluations of disciplinary QL and that evaluations of both everyday and disciplinary QL correlated positively with how strongly they imagined using and writing about numbers in future STEM-related careers. This study establishes patterns to understand and direct future research and guide first-year composition and WAC/WID practice with QL components.
Sprinting toward Genre Knowledge: Scaffolding Graduate Student Communication through "Sprints" in Finance and Engineering Courses
Lindsey Ives, Jayendra S. Gokhale, William C. Barott, Michael V. Perez, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
This article evaluates the use of biweekly deadlines called “Sprints” to scaffold the development of conference papers in graduate-level courses in econometric modeling and electrical engineering through analysis of faculty assessment reports, observation notes, and transcripts of two audio-recorded class sessions. The authors found that Sprints provide consistent opportunities for students to provide and receive helpful formative feedback that builds disciplinary genre knowledge in each of the four dimensions. They conclude by recommending strategies for maximizing Sprints’ benefits while minimizing potential drawbacks in graduate courses across disciplines.
Writing in the Disciplines and Student Pre-professional Identity: An Exploratory Study
James Croft, Michael Benjamin, Phyllis Conn, Joseph M. Serafin, and Rebecca Wiseheart, St. John’s University
This study examines student perceptions about (i) whether writing in undergraduate disciplines contributes to the development of student pre-professional identity (PPI) and (ii) how writing in such disciplines affects PPI relative to other classroom activities. Findings suggest that writing in undergraduate courses can affect student PPI. Further, the extent to which writing contributes to PPI relative to other course activities appears to be related to four things: whether the course was in the student’s major; how professionally authentic the students perceived the writing in the course to be relative to other course activities; the extent to which the instructor works through the disciplinary writing process with the students; and the extent to which the student already has a PPI.
A Review of Sustainable WAC: A Whole Systems Approach to Launching and Developing Writing Across the Curriculum Programs, Michelle Cox, Jeffrey R. Galin, and Dan Melzer. (2018). Urbana, Illinois: NCTE. 272 pages. [ISBN 9780814149522]
A review by Jill Parrott, Eastern Kentucky University
A Review of Leading Academic Change: Vision, Strategy, Transformation, Elaine P. Maimon. (2018). Sterling, Virginia: Stylus. 180 pages. [ISBN 9781620365670]
A review by Caitlin Martin, Miami University
Issue 1 (Special Issue: Contemplative Writing Across the Disciplines)
Guest editors: Marlowe Miller, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Karolyn Kinane, University of Virginia
This issue focuses on the use of contemplative writing as a practice (or set of practices) used in the context of writing across the curriculum and in the disciplines. As explored in the essays within this issue, contemplative writing is most commonly one aspect of carefully constructed contemplative pedagogies and integrated into classes in scaffolded and deliberate ways that might encourage nonjudgmental awareness, embodied or spiritual experience, honor for the interconnectedness of all beings, and more. Most of the scholars in this issue speak of contemplative writing as a practice, much like one might speak of prayer or meditation as a practice. The scholars included in this special issue are building a broader definition of contemplative writing as they offer additional wisdom about contemplative writing and metacognition, contemplative writing and grading, contemplative research writing, and much more.
Contemplative Writing Across the Disciplines
Marlowe Miller, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Karolyn Kinane, University of Virginia
The Place of Practice in Contemplative Pedagogy and Writing
Karolyn Kinane, University of Virginia
Building a Contemplative Research Writing Course: Theoretical Considerations, Practical Components, Challenges, and Adaptability
Nadia Francine Zamin, Fairfield University
Using Mindfulness as a Heuristic for Writing Evaluation: Transforming Pedagogy and Quality of Experience
Jennifer Consilio and Sheila M. Kennedy, Lewis University
Writing Into Awareness: How Metacognitive Awareness Can Be Encouraged Through Contemplative Teaching Practices
Kate Chaterdon, Marist College
Contemplation as Kairotic Composure
Kurt Stavenhagen, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Timothy R. Dougherty, West Chester University of Pennsylvania