chapter  7
30 Pages

Enacting and Sustaining Institutional Change

Most First-Year Writing (FYW) and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) programs operate under the assumption that our job as college writing teachers is to train our students to produce academic discourse so that they can learn how writing operates in different academic disciplines while we simultaneously prepare them for the kind of parallel writing they will be asked to do later in their majors and future professions. A number of scholars, Downs and Wardle (2007) among them, have rightly criticized the continuing tendency in most FYW programs to “teach, in one or two early courses, ‘college writing’ as a set of basic, fundamental skills that will apply in other college courses and in business and public spheres after college” (p. 553). Although I empathize with Downs and Wardle’s position that writing teachers need to stop acting “as if writing is a basic, universal skill” and instead start acting “as if writing studies is a discipline with content knowledge to which students should be introduced, thereby changing their understandings about writing and thus changing the ways they write” (p. 553), I am concerned that they do not push the envelope far enough.