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).