STEM and WAC/WID: Co-Navigating Our Shifting Currents

Guest editors: Erin Beaver, Colorado Mountain College; Brian Hendrickson, Roger Williams University; & Justin Nicholes, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Call for Proposals as PDF

Since its emergence in the late 1970s in the United States as a coherent scholarly and programmatic enterprise, writing across the curriculum/writing in the disciplines (WAC/WID) has been invested in shaping how writing is taught and used as a tool for teaching and learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) (Russell, 2002). Through this evolving relationship, WAC/WID has gone from informing the design, implementation and assessment of individual writing assignments in the STEM classroom (Bean, 2011) to entire programs in quantitative reasoning (Condon & Rutz, 2012), and through a paradigm that increasingly foregrounds not just faculty development but the student learning experience (Nicholes, 2018). Meanwhile, both WAC/WID and STEM education are separately evolving in response to shifting currents in and beyond higher education, including deeper consideration of students’ racial and linguistic identities (Perez‐Felkner & Gayles, 2018; Poe, 2013) and deeper skepticism toward conceptions of disciplinarity that have for decades defined both STEM and WAC/WID and the relationships between them (Gere, Swofford, et al., 2015; Hawkins, et al., 2018; Rademaekers, 2015).

With the understanding that such shifts warrant a constant revisiting of how STEM and WAC/WID can continue to learn from and contribute to one another’s advances in teaching and learning, proposals to this special issue of Across the Disciplines might take up one or more of the following questions, whether through a theoretical, empirical, or historical lens, either at the classroom, programmatic, institutional, or disciplinary level:

  • How can WAC/WID as both an original and evolving high-impact practice (Boquet & Lerner, 2016) speak to advances in STEM around student engagement, success, persistence, and retention (e.g., Hanauer, et al., 2016; Elrod & Kezar, 2016)?
  • What new possibilities for advancing equity emerge from our shared concerns with student, faculty, and professional identity and belonging (e.g., Chen, Mejia, et al., 2019; Emerson, 2016; 2019; Mallette, 2017)?
  • How do threshold concepts in writing, WAC/WID, and STEM connect, and where do they diverge or conflict (Anson, 2015; Thornton, 2020)?
  • How does WAC/WID encourage us to think of STEM as a broader set of literacy and critical thinking skills and not through an overly narrow disciplinary lens, and vice versa (e.g., Bruce, et al., 2016; Gere, Knutson, et al., 2018; Roozen & Erickson, 2017)?
  • How can work in supporting teaching and learning in STEM in different programmatic spaces (e.g., co- and extracurriculum, learning centers, graduate education, online learning, summer bridge) and institution types (e.g., K-12, Minority Serving Institutions, polytechnics, two-year colleges) challenge WAC/WID to be more responsive to the needs of a fuller range of STEM learners (Chen, Hand, et al., 2013; Hendrickson, 2016; Knight, et al., 2008; Pugalee, 2001; Simpson, et al., 2015; Stroumbakis, et al, 2015)?

In addition to the above questions, proposals might address one or more of the following: Data analytics on student engagement; Data visualization; Digital and multimodal literacy; Faculty professional development; Issues in academic integrity/plagiarism; Professional/industry workplace contexts; Reading instruction; Science communication and journalism; Second language, multilingual, and/or translingual teaching/learning/learners; Transfer and transitions (high school to college, college to beyond).

We encourage submissions from scholars in both WAC/WID and STEM, including those involving interdisciplinary collaboration, and we strongly recommend that all submissions engage scholarship in both WAC/WID and STEM teaching and learning.

We also strongly encourage queries and are more than happy to provide guidance to interested authors on crafting a strong proposal. We recognize that this is a challenging time for many scholars, and we will be responsive to necessary contingencies as we move forward with this special issue.

Deadline for Proposals: October 1, 2020 deadline extended to October 11, 2020

Notification of AcceptanceNovember 1, 2020 extended to November 15, 2020

Manuscripts Due: March 31, 2021

Final Revised Manuscripts Due: June 1, 2021

Publication: Fall 2021

Proposal Format and Submission: Please submit a 500-word proposal (not counting references) explaining your topic, the research and theoretical base on which you will draw, and your plans for the structure of your article. Please remove identifying information from your proposal and submit it via the form:

Final manuscripts should not exceed 8000 words (including abstract, references, and appendices). Across the Disciplines follows APA 7th edition style guidelines (except with author first names included in references).

Please send queries to all three special issue editors: Erin Beaver (, Brian Hendrickson (, and Justin Nicholes (


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