WAC programs vary considerably across institutions (McLeod & Maimon, 2000). Their theoretical origin has been traced to the work of James Britton and his colleagues at the University of London in the 1960s and to Charles Bazerman's studies of writing in the disciplines in the 1980s and 1990s. WAC is often referred to as a pedagogical reform movement, and faculty members who become involved with writing across the curriculum often find that it has a significant impact on their teaching.
As an institutional program, Writing Across the Curriculum came of age with the publication of Writing in the Arts and Sciences (Maimon et al., 1981) and with the work of Toby Fulwiler and Art Young at Michigan Technological University and of Anne Herrington at the University of Massachusetts. All of these scholars featured professors in their work from different departments describing both their pedagogy and the kinds of discourse valued in their disciplines. The integration into curricula of both "writing-to-learn" (expressive writing) and "learning to write" (transactional writing) experiences has become a hallmark of WAC programs (McLeod & Maimon).
By 1985, C.W. Griffin's survey of 404 institutions identified 139 WAC programs. That number has continued to grow, with numerous Writing (and Communication) Across the Curriculum programs existing in U.S. colleges and universities today.
According to McLeod and Maimon (2000) a fully-developed WAC program includes:
(1) faculty development,
(2) curricular components from the freshman year onward,
(3) student support in the form of writing or learning centers,
(4) assessment of the program and of student writing,
(5) an administrative structure and budget.
At EMU most of these components have been in place since the WAC program was started in 1999.
Ann M. Blakeslee, Ph.D.
Department of English Language and Literature
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Ann M. Blakeslee, professor of English, directs the Writing Across the Curriculum program and the University Writing Center at EMU. Professor Blakeslee previously served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the university, and she co-chaired the implementation of the General Education program. She has published extensively on a range of topics, including writing in the disciplines, writing in the workplace, research methods, audience, and genre. In 2007, she guest edited a special issue of the Journal of Business and Technical Communication (July) on writing in the disciplines, and she published, with Cathy Fleischer, Becoming a Writing Researcher (Erlbaum, 2007), a textbook on qualitative research methods. Her book, Interacting with Audiences: Social Influences on the Production of Scientific Writing, was published in 2001 by Lawrence Erlbaum. She recently received the Ken Rainey Award for Excellence in Research from the Society for Technical Communication, and she was named a Fellow of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing in 2011.
Professor Blakeslee currently serves as treasurer and as a member of the executive committee for the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW). She has served on numerous national committees and boards, including the research grants committee for the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the Braddock Award committee for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the executive committee, as vice president, of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC). She is also a reviewer and editorial board member for several academic journals.