Admissions & Aid
The Writing Fellows of the Brooklyn College Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program have developed a variety of tools and strategies for faculty and students to employ writing as a tool to develop writing skills, and to improve critical and creative thinking. We welcome you to learn about our program, attend our listed events, review the resources available here, and reach out to explore opportunities for collaboration.
If you are a full- or part-time member of the Brooklyn College faculty, you can contact us if you are interested in a one-on-one appointment with a Writing Fellow for help developing syllabi or individual writing assignments. The WAC program also maintains a database of instructor resources that includes a variety of mini-lessons on writing-related issues that you can use in your classroom. Additional informational resources to help you further investigate how you use writing in your classes include a Digital Writing Toolkit, which provides ideas for moving writing assignments online, and Writing Benchmarks, which helps map the development of a student’s writing over the course of his or her undergraduate college career. Check out our WAC Resources page for more information. Finally, WAC fellows host workshops throughout the fall and winter academic semesters on a variety of topics related to writing pedagogy. Check out the WAC calendar for more details.
If you are a Brooklyn College student, we have a list of on-campus resources to help you improve your writing and address other academic needs, including our WAC Toolkit. To help you chart your development as a writer, make sure to investigate our Writing Benchmarks, which can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and locate areas to develop. Review the Student Resources tab on our WAC Resources page for more information.
The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program encourages the use of writing as a tool for learning in every discipline. A key premise of WAC is that writing will improve if students have the opportunity to write more frequently and in accordance with the conventions of particular disciplines. One of the most important concepts promoted by the WAC program is that writing is, and should be, a mode of learning in addition to being a mode of communication. WAC proponents believe that students who write as a part of the learning process not only become better writers, but are better able to absorb, analyze, remember, and think creatively about a particular subject or study. The primary mission for Writing Fellows at Brooklyn College, as at most senior colleges, is to help faculty more effectively incorporate discipline-specific writing practices in their teaching. The aim is to embed WAC institutionally and to help faculty absorb WAC practices and culture.
The WAC program has four primary functions:
To achieve the first two objectives, WAC works directly with faculty, departments, programs, and college administrators. Individual faculty may request assistance, for example, in designing syllabi or writing assignments. WAC Fellows have worked with faculty in 28 of the 31 departments, and they have been particularly active in working with writing-intensive majors (currently, art, classics, education, English, music, philosophy, and political science). However, Fellows serve the college community in many capacities, especially in conjunction with other Coordinated Undergraduate Education (CUE) programs, such as the freshman Learning Communities and the Core Curriculum.
Writing Fellows work an average of 15 hours per week for 15 weeks each semester, with about five weeks off during winter break. These hours include all meetings (those on campus with each other or faculty members and those at CUNY-wide WAC professional development events). Brooklyn College is assigned six Fellows. The Brooklyn College Writing Fellow Program seeks both to serve its Fellows’ professional development and to fulfill requests by various college programs and faculty for their help. Fellows have found it productive and fun to work on many projects in teams of two or three. Fellows and the two coordinators meet weekly for two hours to plan activities, report on ongoing work, develop group projects, and share ideas on each other’s projects. We also sometimes discuss issues related to the careers of advanced graduate students (e.g., strategies for the job interview).
Writing Fellows assist faculty who want help to better integrate writing into their courses. This includes assisting with revising writing assignments, implementing effective peer revision, working with faculty to develop low-stakes writing exercises, helping faculty devise more efficient protocols for responding to student writing, and creating specialized workshops to help faculty learn more about using writing effectively in the classroom. (Priority is given to faculty teaching a writing-intensive or a Core course for the first time.) Fellows are not permitted to teach (other than workshops or limited 20-minute mini-lessons) or to grade student papers.
As word has spread about the excellent work done by previous Fellows, deans, chairs, and groups of faculty are requesting help to further embed writing in their curricula. Fellows meet with the initiating parties and plan how they might best work with the program.
Fellows often present 20-minute mini-lessons on specific aspects of writing, such as various skills needed to write the research paper. The aim is for the Fellows to model these presentations in class so as to indirectly “teach” the faculty members how to present these topics themselves in the future. (We fondly refer to this practice as “stealth pedagogy.”)
Fellows have written or edited:
We are currently developing pamphlets on the research paper and on using technology to teach writing, and materials intended to motivate students to care about good writing.
Daylong Workshops: Fellows work in pairs to develop and run four annual all-day workshops for full-time and long-term faculty:
Three-day Seminar: Two Fellows teach a three-day faculty seminar during the first week of June that covers the above topics. Incoming Fellows are invited to take the seminar.
Drop-in Clinic (for faculty): On student writing on Faculty Day.
Ad Hoc Workshops: These may run from one to four hours. Fellows are invited to tailor presentations for events such as New Faculty Orientation, a faculty seminar on Generation 1.5 (a variation of ESL) and group meetings of faculty teaching the same Core courses.
Projects can be tailored or created to further Fellows’ interests. Our goal is to find situations in which Fellows’ interests, experience and talents are matched to specific programs. Some Fellows prefer to develop writing materials for their own fields; other Fellows have found it particularly fulfilling to work in fields far removed from their specialties. At the start of each semester the Fellows and the coordinators review short- and long-term requests from individuals, programs and departments to determine which projects are viable and how many we can handle; Fellows then divide up the work among themselves. Typical projects include:
If time permits, Fellows share their work with each other to discuss during our weekly meetings, typically in the spring semester after finishing our group readings of the “WAC canon” in the fall. In the past, Fellows have read each other’s conference papers, dissertation chapters, and job letters and teaching statements. The WAC program has also had presentations about submitting journal articles and book proposals to publishers, how to evaluate the written work of English-language learners, etc.
Fellows present to groups of faculty, department chairs and other administrators about WAC practices. Fellows help individual faculty members and departments create and revise writing-intensive courses and majors. When the writing-intensive requirement was redesigned, two interested Fellows attended meetings with the provost, dean of undergraduate studies, WAC coordinator, and certain committee members. Now Fellows meet with writing-intensive departments to ensure coherence in their curriculum.
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