About WAC


What is WAC/RAC?

Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum (WAC/RAC) is a pedagogical movement that began in the 1980s. Generally, WAC/RAC programs share the philosophy that writing and reading instruction should happen across the academic community and throughout a student’s undergraduate education. WAC/RAC programs also value writing and reading as methods of learning. Finally, WAC/RAC acknowledges the differences in writing conventions across the disciplines, and believes that students can best learn to write in their areas by practicing those discipline-specific writing conventions.

What is a writing intensive (WI) course?

Writing Intensive (WI) courses are ones in which writing plays an integral part in the course curriculum. The purpose of a WI course is to maximize opportunities for meaningful writing experiences and to utilize writing as another tool to teach subject matter in a way that allows students to process what they know into their own words. WI courses use writing activities both inside and outside the classroom in order to challenge students to process information in their own words

What’s the benefit of putting more emphasis on writing?

We all want the same things from our students: we want them to be active learners who read effectively, question texts, make connections, reason cogently; and are able to show us that they can do these things. Multiple-choice and short-answer questions, while they have their uses, don’t promote these abilities. Though not a magic bullet, the use of various writing activities creates better learners in your classroom.

Where do Writing Fellows come from?

Writing Fellows are doctoral students at the CUNY Graduate Center in the advanced stages of their studies.  They come from all disciplines, including Music, Psychology, the Natural Sciences, and Sociology.


For Instructors:

I’m not an English teacher! Will I have to teach grammar and punctuation?

One of the misconceptions that burdens both teachers and students is that good writing chiefly means absence of error. For many students, achieving such proficiency is a long-term project, a skill to be acquired through much practice in many courses, not “injected” once and for all in English comp courses. Content, organization, development come before editing and surface correctness. You may want to intervene once a student has something substantial on paper, but as a teacher in a discipline course, it is not your primary responsibility to teach grammar and punctuation.

How can I create a WI course?

Submitting a WI course requires meeting the requirements and deadlines.  If you would like to learn more about creating WI Courses, contact Dr.Linda Hirsch. Intensive assistance is provided, including one on one assistance with a Writing Fellow.

How can Writing Fellows help instructors?

Writing Fellows work with instructors to design syllabi and assignments for WI courses.  Further, Writing Fellows help in the implementation of assignments by assisting during class time.

How can Writing Fellows help students?

Writing Fellows can assist students who may be “sinking” in a class because of the writing requirement.  Writing Fellows can come to an instructors class or set up regular hours in order to meet with students.


For students:

How can students get help on their writing?

Students can go to the Writing Center for assistance in room C-350. They can also speak with their professor about getting assistance from a Writing Fellow.

How can a Writing Fellow help me?

Writing Fellows can help “sweeten” the writing process for you by helping organize your paper and help you with your grammar and syntax.

Why are we doing all this writing anyway?

You may not love writing, but you will love the benefits you get from being a better writer. Your ability to remember information for your exams, your ability to speak about the things you learn in class, and your ability to express yourself in the REAL WORLD all improve when you write about it!