Writing Across the Curriculum

Writing at Gustavus: Make Your Words Count

Gustavus has received national recognition for its curricular innovation in writing, which combines a strong Writing Across the Curriculum program—required writing intensive courses coupled with faculty development efforts—and a thriving College Writing Center. This combination of curricular efforts, faculty development, and peer support helps ensure that both students and faculty receive support for their work. Most importantly, the Gustavus writing program embodies the College's commitment to teach effective writing skills throughout all disciplines.

Why WAC?

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) is a pedagogical movement that gained strength in the 1980's. Responsibility for writing instruction is shared across the campus, and faculty work together to help students learn to express themselves with clarity and precision in every course context. Good writers make successful choices, suiting form, content, and style to different contexts, purposes, and audiences. In developing such rhetorical skills, the WAC program helps Gustavus students prepare to participate in public life and communicate within and across disciplinary and cultural contexts. WAC at Gustavus draws a great deal from "writing to learn" theories (WTL), which suggest that students can use writing to think through challenging material, internalize what they know, and express themselves more effectively and fluently.

The WRIT Requirement

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program affirms that students can best learn the conventions of academic writing by taking writing intensive courses in multiple disciplines. In the process, they use writing to discover and construct new knowledge and to communicate their ideas to others.

Courses that fulfill the writing requirement focus on developing students’ rhetorical knowledge, meaning their ability to analyze and act on understandings of audience, purpose, and context. Such courses also should contribute to students’ growth in critical thinking, that is, their ability to analyze a situation or text and respond by making thoughtful decisions grounded in reading, research, and writing.

Writing Across the Curriculum courses help students attain interdisciplinary competence. Also, by teaching students to write for audiences with a variety of cultural and disciplinary values, these courses prepare Gustavus students to participate fully as citizens. They contribute to the College’s central purpose: “… to help its students attain their full potential as persons, to develop in them a capacity and passion for lifelong learning, and to prepare them for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society.”

 Gustavus requires students to complete THREE designated writing requirement courses from at least two different departments in order to graduate. Generally, one of these courses should be taken in the first year (typically in the First Term Seminar or Three Crowns Curriculum). Students then complete the writing requirement by taking two additional courses (WRITI, WRITD). At least one designated writing course must be taken as part of a student’s major and one must be a WRITD course. *Please note that students entering in fall 2020 will follow the new Challenge Curriculum, which includes revised requirements for Writing Across the Curriculum.

For further information about the Gustavus Adolphus College Writing Program, contact Rebecca T. Fremo (x7392).