Where Have We Been?

While WAC can trace its roots to numerous sources, including the Language Across the Curriculum movement in Britain during the 1960s and the Communication Movement that followed the second World War (D. Russell, 2002) as well as through discussions emerging from the 1966 Dartmouth Conference on English, scholars generally point to a semester-long seminar led by Barbara Walvoord at Central College during the 1969-1970 academic year as the beginning of the WAC movement. In 2019, Walvoord recalled that she and her colleagues in the Central College English department had heard perennial complaints from colleagues across the disciplines about the quality of student writing and the writing skills of their graduates (personal communication, March 6, 2019). When her Milton seminar failed to reach its enrollment threshold in the fall of 1969, she received approval from her department chair to offer the seminar. It became a year-long workshop that led to what might be considered the first informal WAC program in the United States.

Video: Barbara Walvoord reflects on the first WAC faculty seminar. View the video at https://youtu.be/pMcX8cMJMCI.