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ERIC Number: EJ1116288
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar-29
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1554-8244
Theories of Specialized Discourses and Writing Fellows Programs
Severino, Carol; Trachsel, Mary
Across the Disciplines, v5 spec iss Mar 2008
How much do specialized academic discourse communities matter to undergraduate writers? To what degree should theories of specialized discourses influence the design of undergraduate Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) programs? At the University of Iowa, where an undergraduate Writing Fellows program engages peer tutors in writing-intensive courses across the curriculum, we have considered those questions from various angles, hoping to learn how our program can best meet the needs of our undergraduate writers and their instructors. In our search for answers, we talked with Writing Fellows about their experiences with assignments from inside and outside their own major fields, we reviewed the courses and assignments they worked with during the first four years of our program, and surveyed instructors of those courses about the educational functions they wanted their writing assignments to serve. Our findings suggest that at our university, there may be more similarities than disciplinary differences in the undergraduate writing assignments instructors give, and in the genres students are expected to produce in classes throughout the curriculum. The general academic skills of open-minded inquiry, critical analysis, and use of sources to support an argument figured more prominently in teachers' instructional goals than did specialized discourse skills required for writing as scholars in particular academic disciplines. Similarly, most of our Writing Fellows themselves, after exposure to debates about general and specialized discourses and tutors, preferred the generalist over the specialist position in their work as Writing Fellows.
WAC Clearinghouse. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. Tel: 970-491-3132; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iowa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A