Writing Across the Curriculum

Gustavus has received national recognition for its curricular innovation in writing, which combines a strong Writing Across the Curriculum program—required writing intensive courses coupled with faculty development efforts—and a thriving College Writing Center. This combination of curricular efforts, faculty development, and peer support helps ensure that both students and faculty receive support for their work. Most importantly, the Gustavus writing program embodies the College's commitment to teach effective writing skills throughout all disciplines.

Why WAC?

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) is a pedagogical movement that gained strength in the 1980's. Our Writing Across the Curriculum program asserts that students can best learn the conventions of academic writing by taking writing intensive courses in many disciplines. By doing so, students learn the many ways in which those writing conventions reflect ways of thinking, writing, and doing research within particular fields of study. Responsibility for writing instruction is shared across the campus, and faculty work together to help students learn to express themselves with clarity and precision in every course context. WAC at Gustavus draws a great deal from "writing to learn" theories (WTL), which suggest that students can use writing to think through challenging material, internalize what they know, and express themselves more effectively and fluently.

The WRIT Requirement

Liberally educated students should write well and use writing both to discover and construct new knowledge and to communicate their ideas to others. Writing is a complex activity; it is a form of creative expression and critical engagement that serves practical and intellectual purposes. Since writing shapes the views of others, courses that focus on writing should help students understand the effects of their own written language. All courses that fulfill the writing requirement at Gustavus emphasize basic rhetorical principles, or the issues that guide our choices when we write to move or persuade others. Such issues include purpose, audience, context, style, and form.

Gustavus requires students to complete three designated writing requirement courses from at least two different departments in order to graduate. Students fulfill this writing requirement by taking two types of courses, Writing Intensive (WRITI) and Writing in the Disciplines (WRITD). One of these courses must be taken in the first year (normally in the First Term Seminar or Curriculum II). At least one designated writing course must be taken as part of a student's major, and at least one must be Level II or higher. While many Gustavus courses require written projects, not all courses are designated as WRIT courses. WRIT courses at Gustavus engage discussion of writing explicitly and treat the act of writing as integral to the subject matter.

For further information about the Gustavus Adolphus College Writing Program, contact Jeanne M. Herman (x7614).