Rhetoric and Writing Program at the University of New Mexico

  • The University of New Mexico is a minority-serving doctoral university with almost 24,000 students.
  • During the Consortium, I was launching the first official WAC program at my institution.
  • While my methodology in the WSA was namely focused in stage #1 Understanding, my various activities could be classified across all four stages of the WSA.
  • The WAC program was positioned within the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • During the Consortium, the WAC program established a university webpage, drafted a program mission, offered development workshops, and provided consultations to Individuals, departments, and colleges around campus.
  • In addition to the above activities, as WAC Director, with IRB approval, I collected survey data from 340 faculty across the disciplines and interviewed 90 participants on why and how they integrate writing into their undergraduate curriculum.

California State University, Chico Program

  • California State University, Chico, is an MA-granting Hispanic Serving institution (HSI) of about 17,000 students that’s part of the 23-campus Cal State system.
  • While Chico State has had writing requirements for decades, it’s never had anything resembling a writing-across-the-curriculum (WAC) program; so my goal for the Consortium was to launch a WAC initiative.
  • Because we were early in the process, we were in the Understanding phase of the Whole Systems Approach (WSA).
    During the Consortium, the WAC program was something of a node, positioned in relationship to the more prominent hubs of Academic Senate and the Curriculum Advisory Board (which oversees the GE program).
  • During the Consortium, our nascent WAC program engaged in some professional development (WEC with the GEOS department; ongoing); discussion of shared readings; wrote internal and external grants for WEC funding; reviewed some new courses for W status; established a mission and vision for the UWC; and a mini-retreat to do Blue Ocean strategizing (this August).
  • The early “Understanding” stages of WSA have been solitary–as I worked from home gathering programmatic data, writing grants, and thinking through next steps–but the next stages have to be collaborative. I’ve jumped a bit into planning (stage two) to start developing more resources, focusing on the strategies of Involving Multiple Stakeholders and Considering Faculty/Equity. Implementing WSA isn’t just an effort at building a nonexistent WAC program and finding some resources for it. It’s also to redefine the motley collection of courses into a program, and convince people to adopt additional goals for its growth beyond economics and throughput.

Indiana University Bloomington Campus Writing Program

  • Indiana University Bloomington is a Research 1 institution with a total enrollment of 49,000 students (33,000 undergraduates).
  • During the Consortium, I was working to further develop a writing program that was started in 1990.
  • During the Consortium, the Campus Writing Program was most focused on the following stages: Understanding the System; Involving Multiple Stakeholders; Positioning for Greater Leverage; and Setting Program Mission, Goals, and SIs.
  • The Campus Writing Program is located within the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, which is jointly administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and University Information Technology Services.
  • During the past few years, the Campus Writing Program has focused on diversity and inclusion projects, including expanding services for multilingual writers, making the writing center more accessible for students with disabilities, and developing an inclusive language statement that we can operationalize through programming and consultations with individual instructors.
  • During the Consortium, I have used the recursive structure of the WSA to keep returning to the understanding phase, even as we develop sustainable programs. I have also used the WSA’s emphases on mapping the system and developing SIs to think about our positioning and sustainability. The WSA’s emphasis on equity has been particularly useful as we have navigated the pandemic during the past two years.

Fort Hays State University WAC Program

  • Fort Hays State University is a liberal and applied arts, state-assisted university in Hays, Kansas, with approximately 4,000 students on campus and approximately 10,000 students online and within international partnerships.
  • FHSU’s current WAC program is mostly a 2015 new launch “from scratch”—though an attempt had been made in 2007 to implement a Writing Intensive program, which fizzled out before being fully realized.
  • The new WAC program’s three years of Consortium participation saw action at three stages of the Whole Systems Approach (WSA) methodology: understanding, planning, and developing.
  • Initially, the WAC program operated in a state of positional limbo: directed by an English professor (English department), encouraged by the provost (Provost’s Office), collaborating with instructional support services (TILT—Teaching Innovation and Learning Technologies), and participating in revision of the general-education curriculum (Gen-Ed Committee). By the end of the Consortium period, however, WAC had found a stable home as an official Provost Standing Committee.
  • Within that three-year Consortium period, WAC provided faculty support and development through workshops and panels (14 of them), the launch of a WAC website, the launch of a Writing Liaisons program, and a WAC mini-conference. WAC also piloted a campus-wide persuasive writing rubric, contributed chapters to a discipline-specific writing guide for psychology majors, formed a Faculty Advisory Panel for Gen-Ed CORE course proposals, and developed a faculty survey to identify attitudes and practices surrounding the teaching of writing.
  • The Whole Systems Approach played a strategic role in the success of those many projects. Significantly, efforts to “determine the campus mood” (WSA Strategy #1) and to identify “points of interactivity and leverage” (WSA Strategy #2) have prepared the WAC Committee to “work toward positioning the WAC program for greater interconnectivity and leverage” in the FHSU institution (WSA Strategy #5). The Whole Systems Approach, in other words, is helping to ensure that the current WAC program is more entrenched and sustainable than FHSU’s first foray into WAC territory (the abandoned Writing Intensive program).