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Conference Program

We are currently reviewing conference proposals and finalizing titles and descriptions for our three plenary sessions. We anticipate releasing the program in draft form in late November or early December. In the meantime, we've created a brief version of the program, which indicates when concurrent sessions, meals, breaks, and plenary sessions will be held. 

For those of you who want to ensure a place in our pre-conference workshops, which will be held on Thursday, June 4th, from 8:00 am to 11:15 am, we have finalized our list of workshops. You can register for workshops on the conference registration site. On the third page of the registration form, scroll down to find the list of workshops. We've included the workshop descriptions below for your reference.

W1. Collaborating for Publication: Conducting Cross-Disciplinary Scholarship on Writing

Workshop Leaders: Heather M Falconer, Curry College; Christopher Basgier, Auburn University; Pamela Childers, The McCallie School; Susanne Hall, California Institute of Technology; Jay Jordan, University of Utah; Maureen Ann Mathieson, University of Utah; Michael Pemberton, Georgia Southern University; Sarah Perreault, University of California, Davis; and  Julie Reynolds, Duke University

Description: According to the 2014 “Statement of WAC Principles and Practices,” WAC research is “transformative” because it “promotes cross-disciplinary scholarship on teaching and learning, as well as scholarship on the values and ways of thinking in the disciplines and the ways those ideas and actions are communicated in writing” (1). Sponsored by the AWAC Research and Publications committee, this workshop will examine the transformative potential of collaborative WAC scholarship and the opportunities and challenges it presents. The workshop will draw on real-world examples of working across disciplinary lines to compose and publish scholarship on writing. Using the experiences of collaborative authors and journal editors, as well as strategic practices that may assist with interdisciplinary work, participants will have an opportunity to find solutions to current challenges, as well as have a stronger understanding of what journal editors in WAC are looking for in submissions.

W2. Enhancing the Development of Students’ Disciplinary Discourse and Content Learning in Science and Engineering through a Focus on Writing

Workshop Leader: Magnus Gustafsson, Chalmers University of Technology

Description: A collaborative study between two European universities allowed participants to share practices and articulate approaches for how we support the development of students’ disciplinary discourse in science and engineering. We arrived at seven shared dimensions that we needed to be able to negotiate and adjust in each situation. The seven dimensions are ‘Developing or revising pedagogy’; ‘Developing or revising instructions’; ‘Developing or revising rubrics’; ‘Feedback design and focus’; ‘Focus and division of labor for work with texts’; ‘Focus and division of labor in marking’; ‘Mandate’. This workshop invites participants to explore the dimensions of the approaches and try them on for their own sites irrespective of what discipline they are in. The objective of the workshop is to help participants gain a sense of a strategy and first steps toward a longitudinal WID-approach.

W3. Creating Innovative Teaching Tools: Integrating Disciplinary and Rhetorical Knowledge with Disciplinary Reasoning Diagrams

Workshop Leaders: Suzanne Lane, Malcah Effron, Leslie Roldan, and Michael Trice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Description: We have designed a visual tool that helps students learn to communicate disciplinary knowledge to a variety of audiences and in a variety genres.  The tool, which we call a “Reasoning Diagram,” maps central concepts in a discipline, as well as the reasoned relationship between them, and thus reveals communication pathways that a speaker/writer can take through the material.  These diagrams are discipline-specific, and we have developed a methodology (which includes structured interviews with experts in the discipline as well various forms of textual coding) that allows us to create them in many disciplines. This workshop will introduce the theory and methodology that led us to create the diagrams, which we now have completed in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Comparative Media Studies, Computer Systems, Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematics, and Mechanical Engineering. We will also explain how we use these diagrams with students, and provide assessment data on their effectiveness.  Participants will gain hands-on experience with the methodology and in-class activities, as well as a complete set of our reasoning diagrams.

W4. Incorporating Private Writing Digitally: Ownership, Autonomy, and Flow

Workshop Leader: A. Alexis Larsson, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Description: We created a web application to capture the labor of private writing and we used it in a variety of writing-intensive classes across City University of New York campuses. Emphasizing frequency and exploration, BlabRyte gives structure to Peter Elbow’s advice that writers sometimes ignore their audience, and it promotes an assessment model that values the labor of writing (Inoue). This hands-on workshop will offer a variety of disciplinary uses of BlabRyte and give participants strategies to successfully integrate private writing activities into one’s writing pedagogy beyond assigning a private journal. “Time-out” mode slowly fades and then deletes text after a set period of inactivity, “prompt” mode gets peers to create each other’s subject-relevant prompts, and progress charts track writing habits. Participants will leave with an abundance of ideas for low-stakes assignments that mix and remix forms of audience and response.

W5. Using Interdependent Roles and Tasks to Increase Learning in Collaborative Writing Teams

Workshop Leaders: Jason C. Tham, Texas Tech University, and Joe Moses, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Description: Our workshop on interdependent roles and tasks for collaborative writing teams helps attendees address calls for improved career readiness by providing resources for increasing student learning in writing teams. This workshop is for faculty and graduate instructors who are 1) thinking about using team writing projects in their courses, 2) have used team writing projects in the past and would like to make them more effective, or 3) would take advantage of team writing projects if they had tools for creating effective assignments and supporting team productivity.

W6. The R Word: Challenges and Opportunities of Rhetoric Across the Curriculum

Workshop Leaders: Sarah Pittock and Kathleen Tarr, Stanford University

Description: WAC has experimented with various rebrands, among others, WEC, CAC, and LAC. This workshop will explore why in a moment when cultural rhetorics, digital rhetoric, and political rhetoric are so prominently at issue, WAC practitioners’ theory, practice, and self presentation to institutional, faculty, and national partners do or do not invoke rhetorical concepts. The conversation will make explicit the affordances and limitations of what we might call RAC: Rhetoric Across the Curriculum.

What do we lose, if anything, when we minimize the history and critical vocabulary of rhetoric in our work? What might we gain if we make rhetorical education an explicit goal of undergraduate education? To answer these questions, we will briefly reflect on how we bring in rhetorical concepts and theories to our work as writing specialists in spite of the resistance we face. We will then lead participants through a series of exercises to surface how their current practice names rhetorical concepts, what rhetoric helps us achieve programmatically and in terms of student learning, and what challenges it raises. Our goal is to spark a lively conversation and facilitate the sharing of new strategies.

W7. Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: A Unifying Approach to Teaching and Assessing

Workshop Leaders: Steven Pearlman and David Carillo, University of Saint Joseph

Description: With 95% of CEOs stating that critical thinking is more important than graduates’ major areas of study, with employer surveys ranking critical thinking among the top priorities for candidates, and with articles and research on critical thinking in academia having tripled in the previous decade, the need for higher education to foster and demonstrate critical thinking outcomes is quickly becoming imperative.  Institutions moving to action on this issue often struggle with how to define critical thinking, teach it, and assess it.  This workshop will teach participants how to employ a unified method for implementing critical thinking in writing across the disciplines.  This simple yet rich approach has elevated critical thinking outcomes in high school, undergraduate, and graduate education.  It uses a neuro-biological foundation for critical thinking the taps into how students naturally process the world, and it enables them to refine their thinking method by exercising the same process through which they will ultimately be assessed.  This method is as much a writing method as a reading method, as well as a method for teaching.  Participants will exit the workshop ready to transform their classes for stronger critical thinking outcomes.

W7. All I know about assessment came from Assessment Clear and Simple: A Workshop for WAC Beginners

Workshop Leader: Rick Fisher, University of Wyoming

Description: This workshop is designed for beginners and those who would benefit from revisiting some of the basic issues that shape programmatic assessment. This session will invite attendees to revisit their larger institutional needs, pressures, and resources; map relationships among course, program, and institutional-scale assessment activity; identify objects and objectives of their local efforts; and discuss strategies for "closing the assessment loop." Attendees will have multiple opportunities to share ideas with others during the workshop and will go home with action items for short- and long-term action

W8. Exploring Approaches to Supporting Graduate Writers across Disciplines, Demographics, and Diverse Institutional Contexts

Workshop Leaders: Michelle Cox, Cornell University; Susan Lawrence, George Mason University; and Terry Myers Zawacki, George Mason University

Traditionally, undergraduate writing has been the focus of WAC programs, but graduate student writers are increasingly becoming part of the scope of WAC initiatives, as research uncovers the complexity of graduate writing and the need for support (Simpson, Caplan, Cox, & Phillips, 2016; Lawrence & Zawacki, 2019). This workshop will provide an overview of some of this work, as well as lead participants in thinking through how to plan graduate-level writing support on their campuses. Participants will be introduced to a framework for understanding the complexity of graduate-level writing (adapted from MacDonald, 1995); consider the writing support needs of different demographics of graduate students (i.e. professional masters students, doctoral students, international students); and be introduced to graduate-writing support models and approaches to faculty development. With this context, participants will map the state of graduate writing support on their campuses (if any), identify potential campus allies, and generate a list of feasible (for their institutional context) approaches for building and/or expanding WAC and WID student and faculty support. In the concluding “gallery walk” activity, participants will share their maps, the potential campus allies they’ve identified, and a short list of programmatic practices they think may be achievable at their institutions, either within existing programs and budgets or through other means. The goal is that participants will leave with a good understanding of the possibilities and some viable steps for increasing graduate writing support within WAC/writing center programs or through WAC-informed programming.

W9. WAC Mentoring Workshop

Workshop Leaders: Lindsay Clark, Sam Houston State University; Justin Nicholes, University of Wisconsin, Stout; and Amy Cicchino, Auburn University

Description: The WAC Mentoring Workshop, presented by members of the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum Mentoring Committee, will provide attendees guidance from experienced WAC leaders in a small-group setting. Attendees will be able to choose among breakout groups on various topics related to WAC programs: launching a new program, further developing an existing program, preparing graduate writers across disciplines, conducting WAC program assessment, supporting multilingual writers and WAC, strengthening WAC/writing center connections, bringing WAC into K-12 settings, growing WAC in two-year colleges, engaging in WAC research. Attendees will share their experiences and questions in small groups and receive feedback from their peers and the group leader. We hope providing this opportunity for friendly, cross-institutional mentoring will begin conversations that can continue throughout IWAC. The workshop will be run in two rounds, with each topic repeated so that attendees may choose two topics of interest to them. Each breakout group will be led by an experienced WAC leader from AWAC.

Round 1: 8:00-9:30 am

  • Launching a New Program: Tara Wood (University of Northern Colorado)
  • Further Developing an Existing Program: Joan Mullin (UNC Charlotte) 
  • Supporting Graduate Student Writers Across Disciplines: Ann Blakeslee (Eastern Michigan University)
  • Growing WAC in Two-Year Colleges: Tiffany Rousculp (Salt Lake Community College)
  • Strengthening WAC/Writing Center Connections: Melody Denny (University of Northern Colorado) 

Round 2: 9:45-11:15 am

  • Launching a New Program: Teresa Redd (Howard University) 
  • Further Developing an Existing Program: Joan Mullin (UNC Charlotte) 
  • Supporting Graduate Student Writers Across Disciplines: Ann Blakeslee (Eastern Michigan University)
  • Growing WAC in Two-Year Colleges: Alyson Huff (Front Range Community College)
  • Strengthening WAC/Writing Center Connections: Melody Denny (University of Northern Colorado)