Are We There Yet? Concluding Observations

WAC emerged from movements outside the United States, particularly those associated with education in the United Kingdom. While it has been seen for much of its first 50 years as a largely U.S. movement, the past two decades have been marked by increasing attention from writing studies scholars and program leaders outside the US (McLeod & Soven, 2006). We believe that the success of the WAC movement will be founded on what we have and will continue to learn from its use and growth in countries around the globe.

We also believe that the growth of the WAC movement will also be fueled by the lessons we learn from its application in classrooms and other learning spaces at all levels of education, from primary to secondary to tertiary. The use of writing as a means of learning is well documented, as are the benefits of a citizenry who can communicate clearly and effectively in professional, civic, and social settings. Continued attention to the lessons we learn from applying WAC principles and practices at all levels of education will be a key part of growing and strengthening the movement.

We believe that WAC can act transformatively between and beyond traditionally-conceived boundaries. We must stay vigilant, however, if we hope to increase its impact on the disciplines it supports. Equally important, we must cultivate the professional structures that invite engagement in this important area of writing studies. WAC's interstitial connectivity plays a key role in making it a transformative movement. Yet this connectivity also poses significant challenges for our efforts to promote and sustain it. We can accomplish this only through thoughtful reflection and intentionality. For this reason, we believe WAC organizations (such as AWAC, the WAC Standing Group, and the WAC Clearinghouse) and WAC events (such as the IWAC Conference and WAC Summer Institute) will only increase in importance in coming years. Our challenge is to maintain their momentum and expand WAC's reach beyond writing studies.

As we look to the next 50 years of WAC, we recognize the importance of reflection, critique, and innovation. The IWAC 2020 conference theme, "Celebrating Successes, Recognizing Challenges, Inviting Critique and Innovation," marked the 50th anniversary of the first WAC seminar by challenging the community to do more than celebrate the endurance of what David Russell (2020) has called "the longest-lived of the many 'across-the-curriculum' movements in U.S. higher education."5 If WAC is to endure, the community must continue to reflect on how best to understand and respond to the challenges it faces. Continued innovation in the face of a changing educational landscape will be critical to its long-term success.

5. The IWAC 2020 conference was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.