The primary purpose of the Berks WAC program is to provide training, resources, and advice about writing instruction for Berks faculty. The WAC program serves faculty in all disciplines who seek to increase the amount and effectiveness of the writing assignments they require in their classes.
Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) is an ongoing curricular movement designed to ensure that students have frequent and significant opportunities to write, revise, and discuss their writing in their classes--from their freshman year to their graduation, whatever their major course of study.
The Berks WAC program focuses upon two primary projects each year: a faculty-wide WAC luncheon and a series of training workshops for a select group of faculty applicants.
The WAC luncheon is held each spring and is attended by faculty from across all disciplines. The goal of the luncheon is to emphasize the importance of writing on our campus and to answer questions about the WAC training workshops. The luncheon is divided into two sections: an open discussion, followed by short presentations by former WAC participants. One of the ongoing goals for program is to reconnect with faculty who completed the WAC workshops in the past. Many previous WAC participants attend the luncheons, and they share their experiences and insights with their colleagues. The luncheon is always successful and well attended—we encourage faculty to attend each year.
Prior to the WAC luncheon, the committee solicits proposals for inclusion in the training program through college-wide mailings and through the Berks Teaching Colloquium. The process is competitive, and the committee receives many excellent proposals by faculty across disciplines. The committee selects and invites six to eight faculty members to participate in the training program; those faculty members who are unable to accept are often deferred to next year’s training program. Participants are chosen primarily based upon the strengths of their proposals, but an effort is made to include faculty from each of the three divisions, and to include faculty from different ranks
WAC training involves a number of stages, including three 90-minute training workshops, creation or revision of syllabi and writing assignments, submission and review of syllabi and assignments, the completion of an online survey, and follow-up, monitoring, and assessment of WAC courses and the WAC program in general. The workshops focus on the following key areas: Designing WAC Courses, Integrating Writing Assignments into WAC Courses, and Grading and Responding to Student Writing. The workshops use John Bean’s Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom as a key text, which facilitate many of our discussions. These workshops are held bi-weekly, in the Spring semester, culminating in the submission of syllabi and assignments from all participants. The committee reviews and provides detailed suggestions and comments on each WAC syllabus it receives through a response letter.
The Berks WAC committee has enjoyed working with faculty to increase student writing opportunities across the PSU Berks curriculum. We are confident that Writing Across the Curriculum will continue to develop on our campus in the future, and we look forward to being a part of that process.
The PSU Berks WAC program would not be possible without the guidance and assistance of Belen Rodriguez-Mourelo, HASS Division Head, and Paul Esqueda, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and we thank them for their support.
If you have questions or comments about this year’s WAC program, please contact us.