WAC as a Force for Change in Disciplines Outside Writing Studies

The WAC movement was founded on the principle that writing activities and assignments can improve teaching and learning in disciplines across the curriculum. Its strongest proponents argue that communication is at the heart of how we learn, that the use of writing and speaking to organize ideas and communicate with others supports learning in ways that other traditional approaches to learning, such as the use of multiple-choice examinations and quizzes, cannot accomplish. WAC also reinforces and in many cases engenders, through the professional development opportunities afforded by WAC (whether through a formal WAC program or the individual efforts of writing scholars), the recognition that writing scholars and scholars in other disciplines share a common purpose. WAC workshops and individual consultations can help those outside (as well as those inside) writing studies discover that they are struggling with similar teaching and learning challenges, and recognize that together we have a greater chance of meeting those challenges.

These WAC efforts can also lead to scholarly projects that have an impact inside and outside of writing studies, benefiting students not only while they are enrolled in classes where writing is used to support teaching and learning but also in subsequent courses as they use what they've learned. This is particularly important for graduate students from other disciplines who find the language and practice of WAC to be generative for their research agendas. For example, a pilot study of the Cross-Institutional Mentoring Project involved a graduate student from an education program focusing on leadership and policy who drew on WAC scholarship to explore her questions about L2 writing support at her institution (A. Russell & Nicholes, 2019).