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WAC Program Description

The WAC program solicits faculty and student participants every semester. Faculty participants engage in an orientation session and implement several program elements in their classes. Students apply to become writing fellows and/or Writing Center consultants and take a three-hour required training course, Introduction to Composition Theory and Pedagogy.

Faculty participants request writing consultants for their courses, which are assigned by the program administrators. The writing consultants meet their instructors to determine the specific goals to be accomplished through their work with student writers.

Instructors agree to assign two to three substantive papers in the semester and to require enrolled students to attend conferences with writing consultants assigned to their class. Writing consultants receive first drafts and provide extensive written commentary. Before returning these papers, writing consultants conduct one-on-one writing conferences with each student to clarify written commentary and to suggest areas for improvement. At no time does the writing consultant evaluate student writing; all commentary is aimed at improving the writing process, not the content of the individual paper. Writing consultants generally need no content-specific knowledge to engage in a writing conference. Consultants focus more on the writing process than on the specific subject or writing assignment.

After students and writing consultants meet for their one-on-one writing conferences, students revise their papers and submit to the instructor for evaluation both the first draft with writing consultant's commentary and the final, revised draft. The result is better written papers that are more satisfying to read and grade.

Writing consultants, participating faculty, and students enrolled in courses with consultants complete an annual evaluation of the program. The results of these evaluations are tabulated and analyzed to find areas of strength and weakness. Program changes result to strengthen areas of weakness. These changes are authorized by the program administrators and advisory committee and implemented by participating instructors and writing consultants.

The success of the program depends heavily upon the enthusiasm and cooperation of the instructors who have requested consultants, and upon the quality of work accomplished by the writing consultants. Instructors are admitted to the program only after agreeing to uphold the program goals. Writing consultants are carefully screened through letters of recommendation, personal interviews, and successful completion of the training course.

A Step-by-Step Overview

  1. Applications for the prerequisite training course, English 383: Introduction to Composition Theory and Pedagogy, are accepted each semester through the the start of student pre-registration. The screening process for applicants may include writing samples or personal interviews. Faculty are expected to e-mail a short recommendation to the program director. Accepted students are invited to enroll in 383 for the following semester. Enrollment is possible only by permission of the Writing Center Director.
  2. Interested faculty are invited to attend an orientation session with the program director. Attending the orientation session gives instructors full membership in the program.
  3. Writing consultants begin work after successfully completing the 383 course.
  4. Program administrators meet with writing consultants to refresh memories and provide program evaluation results.
  5. Writing consultants meet with their assigned professors and courses, later providing written commentary to drafts and conducting one-on-one writing conferences.
  6. Writing Center consultants establish their own Writing Center hours and conduct conferences by appointment as well as meet with walk-ins.
  7. Near the end of the semester, current consultants indicate their work preferences for the upcoming semester, while those completing English 383 indicate their preferences contingent upon successful completion of the course and final acceptance from program administrators.
  8. Participating faculty indicate their writing consultant preferences for their courses next semester.
  9. Before the end of the semester, program administrators make assignments for writing fellows and Writing Center consultants for the upcoming semester.

Program administrators monitor new fellows and consultants carefully, while encouraging experienced fellows and consultants to act as mentors and guides.

Every other year, written evaluations are completed by participating faculty and writing consultants, while students in participating courses complete a multiple choice computer-scanned answer sheet. Students are also given the opportunity to elaborate in writing on each group of responses. You can obtain copies of our evaluation instruments by contacting Joe Essid.