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From the Editor

Reflections on Across the Disciplines

Michael Pemberton, Georgia Southern University
Michael Pemberton, Editor
Homepage: http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/~michaelp/
Email: michaelp@georgiasouthern.edu

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It's been a very interesting and exciting year and a half (so far) as the editor of Across the Disciplines, particularly because it's given me an opportunity to see the diverse ways in which scholars in our field - and outside of it as well - are thinking about and researching disciplinary discourse. In the brief time I've been sitting in the editor's chair - which already needs reupholstering, I think - I've read articles about writing fellows initiatives, the discourse of teacher response, reading across the curriculum, rubric design, and wikis. (Someday, someone will submit an article called "Wiki-WACy-Woo!!" - I'm sure of it.) One curious spike I've noticed in submissions: I've received a number of pieces about WAC initiatives in the health service professions such as clinical nursing, social work, and the health sciences, and several of these articles, I anticipate, will be seeing publication in the journal later this year. The authors of these pieces frequently reflect upon the importance of helping students understand that their future careers, no matter how technical or specialized, will be immersed in rhetorical concerns. Not only will these students need to understand professional terminology, but they will also often be expected to translate those terms to their clients and other lay audiences. Both I and the journal's reviewers find these pieces intriguing, and they seem to indicate a potentially fertile area for further research.

I've also been quite pleased to receive submissions from the wider international community, reminding me - and the rest of us - both that WAC's origins are not to be found solely in the United States and that American perspectives on communication across the curriculum can hardly be considered universal or monolithic. At the time of this writing, Ragnhild Nilsen's piece, "Rupture and Innovation: Joint Instruction to Health Science Students in Tromsø, Norway" is nearly ready for publication, and a collaborative piece by Magnus Gustafsson (Sweden) and Neill Thew (UK) reflecting on the 2006 WAC Conference in Clemson, SC, should be up in another month or so. I think all of us would like to see more pieces of this sort, and I strongly encourage our international colleagues to consider submitting their work to this journal in the future. We welcome your scholarship and the fresh perspectives you can bring.

Coming Up in 2007: In August or September, we will publish a special issue of ATD on Writing Fellows Programs, co-edited by Brad Hughes and Emily Hall at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This looks to be a superb issue, based on the quality (and quantity) of proposals in response to their call for papers. We received more than 20 proposals from a broad cross-section of our readership, and we had to make some difficult decisions about which proposals to accept and which to decline for this special issue, largely because of space considerations. In at least one case, we asked that the proposers write the article and submit it to ATD for possible publication outside the special issue. I certainly hope that they do.

In the coming months, I will begin trolling the hallways and knocking on doors, looking for people who might be interested in working on a special issue for 2008. Many possibilities present themselves, some of which I've referred to here - WAC and technology, WAC and the Health Professions, International WAC Programs - but I'm certainly open to other possibilities. If you've got an idea, or even several ideas, let's talk!