Written by Stacia Callan
- In 1984, a subcommittee of the Professional Development Instructional
Resources Committee (PDIRC) polled the MCC faculty if they would be
interested in learning more abut WAC. It received 112 affirmative
responses out of 427. This set the stage for subsequent WAC activities
- In 1985, the PDIRC organized a two-day series of WAC consciousness-raising,
informational workshops. They were conducted by Dr. Carey Ser of Miami
Dade Community College which had a strong WAC program already in existence.
The general session and the discipline specific workshops drew about
- The 1985 workshop generated dialogues between colleagues and experiments
with the writing assignments in the disciplines but no formal follow-up
- During the two years after Dr. Ser's workshops, growth had occurred.
Colleagues in some disciplines found out that writing helps students
to learn, to think; and it helps them to teach. These discoveries
had to be made known. With this in mind, in November of 1987, the
PDIRC organized a "local talent show." Four colleagues, who became
confident in the use of writing in their disciplines, reported how
it worked for them. The represented disciplines were: Biology, Business/Economics,
Nursing, and Sociology. The event was attended by 54 people and very
well received. Soon came requests for another follow-up.
- In February, 1988, the PDIRC organized another WAC event. It included
presentations by local experts on the following:
This function was attended by 57 faculty.
- How to evaluate writing
- Assignments that need not be graded
- Effective ways of assigning research projects
- Help available to poor student writers through Developmental
- In June, 1988, the PDIRC organized an advanced WAC training session:
a two-day workshop on Assignments that Teach Disciplines." The presenters
were Joyce Magnotto of Prince George's Community College and Barbara
Stout of Montgomery Community College, both of Maryland. Barbara and
Joyce are a national research team on WAC in community colleges. They
are also published writers. Their workshops were attended by 49 faculty
who responded enthusiastically to the presenters. The faculty reaction
to the advanced session was "What's next?"
- In the fall of 1988, the WAC Project gained momentum with a $6,000
grant from the MCC Foundation. In January of 1989, the WAC Committee
was formed. In February and March, 1989, the WAC Committee surveyed
the MCC faculty for the amounts and kinds of writing assigned in the
disciplines. Out of the 305 polled faculty, 117 responded. The results
show that 51 of the respondents from the disciplines, excluding English,
require a significant amount of writing through a variety of assignments
in their courses.
After careful consideration of the responses to the WAC Survey, the
committee tentatively defined a writing-intensive ("WR") course for
MCC. Its concept is explained in the enclosed proposal to the Curriculum
Committee of the MCC Senate.
- The next step in the MCC WAC efforts is a pilot program of "WR"
courses which will use writing in the disciplines according to the
"WR" course proposal guideline. The participants will be chosen on
the basis of the merits of their proposals, and will be given incentives.
At this time 11 stipends are available to participants, $300 each.
The WAC Committee hopes to receive many more than 11 "WR" Course Proposals,
and it plans to work toward other incentives such as reduced class
size, more stipends, or partial reduction in a teaching load for participants.