ERIC Number: ED332199
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar-21
Reference Count: N/A
WAC and Engineering, or Why Engineers Can't Write.
In response to criticisms from an accrediting agency, the director of the Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) program at the State University of New York, Farmingdale, designed a one-day marathon session and a series of biweekly seminars to bridge the gap between WAC truths and the assumptions of the engineering faculty concerning writing processes and writing to learn. At first, the engineers blamed the English department for their students' inability to write acceptable laboratory reports. After a lively debate in one session which began with the realization that students did not know what was expected of them in the lab report, the engineers realized that they could not even agree among themselves about the objectives of a lab report. They realized that the problem was not that the English department had failed, but that they were not able to articulate for their students what a lab report should be. The second semester saw the addition to the program of faculty in physics and chemistry and a revival of the earlier discussions about the failure of the English department by the new participants. Responses to the WAC program are encouraging: participants speak of the impact of the program on pedagogy, critical thinking and cross-curriculum thinking, writing as a learning tool, and interdisciplinary responsibility. While the requirements of the accrediting agency and administrative support were crucial in getting started, what has sustained the program is that the faculty began to see improvement in student learning. (RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: State University of NY of Tech at Farmingdale
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).