WAC-GO: A WAC Organization for Graduate Students

WAC-GO was established by graduate students who had strong interests in WAC but lacked a clear focus for how they might find a path into the field. It emerged from the graduate program at George Mason University, found its first home and financial support from the WAC Clearinghouse, and is now a key part of AWAC. To learn more, visit https://wacassociation.org.

WAC-GO is a response to two related exigencies: First, by the early 2000s, it had become clear that many of the scholars in WAC who had largely sustained the movement were beginning to move into retirement. A new generation of WAC scholars was asking the obvious question: who would take their place? Second, it had become equally clear that, if a new generation was to take advantage of growing enthusiasm for WAC scholarship, formal structures could make these paths into WAC work more visible and more accessible. These exigencies came together when Michelle LaFrance, after noticing a strong graduate student presence at the 2014 Conference for Writing Program Administrators, asked how a stronger graduate-student presence might be encouraged at the IWAC conference. She subsequently approached then-graduate students Brian Hendrickson and Al Harahap (and later Alisa Russell) with the idea of starting a similar graduate organization for WAC. These founders of WAC-GO assembled an advisory board, connected with the IWAC 2016 conference, set bylaws and leadership for the organization, and created a web presence on the WAC Clearinghouse.

Video: Alisa Russell discusses the formation of the WAC Graduate Organization. View the video at https://youtu.be/rkEb-iuFUck.

At the time this article was written, WAC-GO was operating under its fourth leadership team as a committee of AWAC.3 The WAC-GO leadership team provides a number of professional and research support resources, including but not limited to a once-per-semester newsletter that features grad student projects, a cross-institutional mentoring program pairs graduate students with scholar-practitioners at different institutions for a year, a post-CCCC webinar to drive grad student research, and travel funding for WAC-related events. WAC-GO also works to ensure that issues affecting graduate students be addressed by AWAC. In a chapter in the edited collection emerging from the IWAC 2018 collection (A. Russell, Chase, Nicholes, & Johnston, 2020), early leaders of WAC-GO identified the main questions driving the organization's initiatives:

How do we energize the momentum of the field by encouraging fresh and diverse graduate student perspectives? How do we demystify entry points into WAC work and spaces for graduate students? And how do we connect graduate students to peer and faculty mentors and collaborators? (p. 44)


3. While graduate students can join WAC-GO without joining AWAC, numerous AWAC members have sponsored graduate students' AWAC memberships.