We are pleased to announce the 2023 Exemplary WAC Program Awards. The Exemplary WAC Program Awards series recognizes the extraordinary achievements of WAC directors and/or administrative teams to establish, maintain, and sustain programs that foster and facilitate exemplary engagement with writing across the curriculum at their institution, as well as institutional commitments to support these achievements. Please join us in celebrating the 2023 winning programs in the following categories:
The 2023 Exemplary Emerging WAC Program (1-5 years) is
Writing Across the Curriculum at Landmark College
Founders, Sara Glennon and John Kipp
Writing Across the Curriculum at Landmark College has emerged as a program deeply rooted in the institution it serves. Not only is WAC@LC building better learning experiences for Landmark College students, it is developing new knowledges and best practices regarding neurodivergent student writers. This work will not only help Landmark College students but will have positive ripple effects on students at institutions across the nation served by WAC programs.
Of specific note has been the cultural uptake of the WAC@LC program’s student-centered and theoretically grounded work. The “Values and Principles for Teaching Writing” document served as a model for the college-wide “Landmark College Statement of Pedagogical Principles.” Further, faculty in multiple areas, including STEM, are embracing writing-to-learn pedagogies and moving away from using writing only for summative assessment purposes. This equitable change is accompanied by a college-wide examination of WAC’s movement towards flexible deadlines that have been found to improve learning outcomes for neurodivergent students.
Respect for the students at Landmark College is another exemplary feature of the WAC program. Plans to build student knowledge of, and expectations for, WAC pedagogies are admirable. The shared terminology in the WAC Glossary provides an anchor for students and faculty alike to share assumptions and certainties for the complexities of reading and writing. Clearly, WAC@LC is consciously making decisions within the local norms of the extensively student-centered college.
As an emerging program, WAC@LC is making smart choices in building relationships with the broader governance structures of the college and with other student-focused departmental units to ensure the sustainable of the program.
The 2023 Exemplary Established WAC Program (6-10 years) is
Fairfield University’s WAC/WID Signature Element
Director, Kimberly Gunter
Fairfield has brought the Core Writing Program into the heart of best practices and theoretical framing within the field of Writing Studies. They have succeeded in a very difficult transition from an outdated model of composition based in literature into one that serves students across the curriculum and builds a culture of writing across diverse faculty interests and expertise.With over 179 WAC- and WID- designated courses since fall of 2019 that span 32 departments and programs and four schools or colleges. WAC programming has significantly impacted the campus writing culture and transformed into a vertical and writing across the curriculum model. Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies provide the foundation of WAC on campus and offer a shared set of axioms, specifically “all writing is genre writing,” “audience matters,” and “disciplines create rhetorical communities.”
We were impressed how the local context at Fairfield helped to shape these axioms. Offering a variety of WAC programming, faculty support varies in duration and objectives, including single day sessions, longer workshops, and sustained engagement through WAC Faculty Fellows. Since 2019, more than seven highly regarded scholars in writing studies have been invited to support further faculty development at Fairfield, including a recent focus on linguistic justice in writing pedagogy. Notably, WAC courses at Fairfield are capped at 20 total students, allowing writing experiences to promote High Impact Practices that create conditions for scaffolding and supporting writing as a process. There is an institutional commitment to the value of teaching writing and the labor involved in doing so effectively.
As an enduring WAC program, Fairfield has many of the characteristics of Sustainable WAC programs. The insights of WAC/WID have supported a vertical writing curriculum and offer an exemplary model for how to integrate threshold concepts of writing studies in vertical WAC programs.
The 2023 Exemplary Enduring WAC Program (11+ years) is
Writing Across the Curriculum Program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Director, Pamela Flash
The 35 year-old WAC program at the University of Minnesota stands as a truly impressive, enduring WAC program that offers so much not only to the faculty at Minnesota but to the WAC community writ large due to the influential scholarship coming out of the program. We appreciate the two programs housed within the broader WAC program, the Teaching with Writing (TWW) program that offers instructional support to all disciplinary faculty and the writing-Enriched Curriculum Program (WEC) that supports meaningful integration of writing and writing instruction in departmental curricula. Together, these efforts promote robust support for writing support across campus, and are arguably efforts that on their own can be a stand-alone WAC initiative.
We were impressed with the program’s long-standing efforts that have sustained and grown over time, especially with the writing-enriched curriculum (WEC) model. With 75 departments utilizing writing plans and participating in the WEC program, the reach and impact of this support is profound. Further, we admired the focus on cultural change around writing that seemed apparent on Minnesota’s campus, with a large number of departments participating in a writing plan and attending TWW events. Faculty participation and buy-in (especially over time) leads to a shift in the way departments think about and understand writing, and Minnesota’s WAC program has made successful progress in accomplishing this important yet difficult feat.
Overall, WAC at Minnesota is an example of a truly exemplary program that serves as a helpful model for other programs engaging in similar types of work. The WEC Model has grown nationally and the WAC program at Minnesota has served as supportive colleagues to other WAC professionals embarking on similar work, showcasing their impact not only on their own campus but on our broader WAC community.
Each of the winning programs exemplifies the principles and best practices of writing across the curriculum, demonstrating commitment to the field’s scholarship and models as well as innovation as they respond to their local contexts. In addition, this year’s winners are deeply integrated into their colleges and universities. They leverage shared priorities and strong partnerships, dialogue and collaboration, critical and creative thinking to advance a comprehensive approach to supporting writing instruction and writers across the campus community. Ultimately, these three programs excel at building learning experiences, developing new knowledge, establishing student-centered practices, and working with faculty across interests and expertise while creating or sustaining a culture of change around writing.
You can view program profiles for the award-winning programs here: