Discipline-focused Writing Across the Curriculum Resources: Discipline Specific

Discipline-focused Writing Across the Curriculum Resources

Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

  • Ambron, Joanne. “Writing to Improve Learning in Biology.” Journal of College Science Teaching (February 1987).
  • Hearn, Gail W. “Writing in Ecology and the Ecology of Writing.” Private Insights and Public Statements. Elaine Maimon, Barbara F. Nodine, Gail W. Hearn, and Janice Haney-Peritz. Programs that Work. Ed. Toby Fulwiler and Art Young. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook/Heineman, 1990. 12-18.
  • McMillen, Liz. “Science and Math Professors are Assigning Writing Drills to Focus Student’s Thinking.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 1986).
  • Powell, Alfred. “A Chemist’s View of Writing, Reading, and Thinking Across the Curriculum.” College Composition and Communication 36 #4 (December 1985): 414-418.
  • Schlein, Jack. “Writing to Learn: A Perspective.” York College [Biology].

Composition and Literary Studies

  • Anderson, Worth et al. “Cross-Curricular Underlife: A Collaborative Report on Ways with Academic Words.” College Composition and Communication, 41 (1990): 11-36.
  • Bazerman, Charles. “What Written Knowledge Does: Three Examples of Academic Discourse.” Landmark Essays in Writing Across the Curriculum. Ed. Charles Bazerman and David Russell. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1994. 159-88.
  • Bean, John C. Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996.
  • Elbow, Peter. “High Stakes and Low Stakes in Assigning and Responding to Writing.” New Directions in Teaching and Learning, 69 (1997): 5-13.
    ---. Writing with Power. 
  • Fulwiler, Toby. “The Argument for Writing Across the Curriculum.” Writing Across the Disciplines. 1986. 21-32.
    ---. “Why We Teach Writing in the First Place.” Forum: Essays on Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing. Ed. P. Stock. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1983. 273-86.
  • Haney-Peritz, Janice. “In Medias Res: Reflections and Assignments in Composition and Literature.” Private Insights and Public Statements. Elaine Maimon, Barbara F. Nodine, Gail W. Hearn, and Janice Haney-Peritz. Programs that Work. Ed. Toby Fulwiler and Art Young. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook/Heineman, 1990. 19-26.
  • Haswell, Richard H. “Minimal Marking.” College English, 45 (1983): 600-04.
    Herrington, Anne J. “Writing to Learn: Writing Across the Disciplines.” College English, 43 (1981): 379-87.
  • Holderer, Robert W. “Holistic Scoring: A Valuable Tool for Improving Writing Across the Curriculum.” Writing Center Perspectives. 133-45.
  • Kinneavy, James. “Writing Across the Curriculum.” Landmark Essays in Writing Across the Curriculum. Ed. Charles Bazerman and David Russell. 65-78.
  • Knoblauch, C.H. and Lil Brannon. “Writing as Learning Through the Curriculum.” College English, 45 (1983): 465-74.
  • Law, Joe. “Serving Faculty and Writing Across the Curriculum.” The Writing Center Resource Manual. IV, 4. Wright State University. 
  • Mahala, Daniel. “Writing Utopias: Writing Across the Curriculum and the Promise of Reform.” College English: 773-89.
  • Maimon, Elaine. “Getting the Conversation Started.” Private Insights and Public Statements. Elaine Maimon, Barbara F. Nodine, Gail W. Hearn, and Janice Haney-Peritz. Programs that Work. Ed. Toby Fulwiler and Art Young. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook/Heineman, 1990.
    ---. “15 Ideas from Elaine Maimon.” York College.
  • Malinowitz, Harriet. “A Feminist Critique of Writing In the Disciplines.”
    McCarthy, Lucille Parkinson. “A Stranger in a Strange Land: A College Student Writing Across the Curriculum.” Landmark Essays in Writing Across the Curriculum. Ed. Charles Bazerman and David Russell. 125-55.
  • Moss, Andrew and Carol Holder. “Seventeen Suggestions for Making and Presenting Writing Assignments” and “Assignments that Work.” Improving Student Writing. California State University.
  • Mullin, Joan and Neil Reid, Doug Enders, and Jason Baldridge. “Constructing Each Other: Collaborating Across Disciplines and Roles.” 153-170.
  • Murray, Donald. “Teach Writing as a Process Not Product.” Cross-talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. Ed. Victor Villanueva, Jr. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1997. 3-6.
  • Russell, David R. “Writing Across the Curriculum in Historical Perspective.” College English, 52 (1990): 52-73.
    ---. “The Writing Across the Curriculum Movement, 1970-1990.” Writing in the Academic Disciplines, 1870-1990: A Curricular History. Carbondale and 
    Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991. 271-307.
  • Sommers, Nancy. “Between the Drafts.” Women/Writing/Teaching. Ed. Jan Zlotnik Schmidt. Albany: SUNY Press 1998. 165-175.
  • Soven, Margot. “Designing Writing Assignments: Some New Considerations.” Kansas English, 76 (Fall 1990): 11-19.
  • Sternglass, Marilyn. “Writing Demands in Relation to Composition Instruction” and “Implications for Instruction and Research.” Time to Know Them. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997. 114-294.
  • Walvoord, Barbara F. “The Future of WAC.” College English 58 (1996): 58-79.
    ---, and John r. Breihan. “Arguing and Debating: Breihan’s History Course.” Thinking and Writing in College: A Naturalistic Study of Students in Four Disciplines. Ed. Barbara Walvoord and Lucille P. McCarthy. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1990. 97-143.
  • Zamel, Vivian. “Responding to Student Writing.” TESOL Quarterly 19 (1985): 79-101.
    ---. “Writing: The Process of Discovering Meaning.” TESOL Quarterly 16 (1982): 195-209.

English as a Second Language/Dialect

  • Valdes, Guadalupe. “Bilingual Minorities and Language Issues in Writing: Toward Professional Responses to a New Challenge.” Written Communication, 9 (Jan 1992): 85-136.
  • Zamel, Vivian. “Questioning Academic Discourse.” College ESL 3 (1993).
    ---. “Strangers in Academia: The Experiences of Faculty and ESL Students Across the Curriculum.” CCC 46.4 (1995): 506-521.


  • Bass, Randy. “Engines of Inquiry: Teaching, Technology, and Learner-Centered Approaches to Culture and History.” American Studies Crossroads Project.


    • King, Barbara. “Using Writing in the Mathamatics Class: Theory and Practice.” Teaching Writing in All Disciplines, ed. Williams Griffin. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1982.
    • Kozlov, Alex. “Teaching Students to Speak (And Write).” SIAM News (March 1987).
    • Senk, Sharon L. “How Well Do Students Write Geometry Proofs?” Mathamatics Teacher (September 1985).
    • Watson, M. “Writing Has a Place in a Mathamatics Class.” Mathematics Teacher 73 (October 1980): 518-19.


  • Dir Yanni, Robert. “Sound and Sense: Writing About Music.” Journal of Basic Writing (Spring/Summer 1980): 25.


  • Clark, C. C. “Journal Writing.” Classroom Skills for Nurse Educators: 230-239. New York: Springer Publishing Co., Inc., 1978.
  • Cooper, Signe S. “Methods of Teaching – Revisited: Experiential Diaries and Learning Logs.” Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing 13 #6 (1982): 32-4.
  • Pinkstaff, Elizabeth. “An Experience in Narrative Writing to Improve Public Health Practice by Students.” Journal of Nursing 24 #1 (January 1985).

Social Sciences

  • Nodine, Barbara F. “Assignments in Psychology: Writing to Learn.” Private Insights and Public Statements. Elaine Maimon, Barbara F. Nodine, Gail W. Hearn, and Janice Haney-Peritz. Programs that Work. Ed. Toby Fulwiler and Art Young. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook/Heineman, 1990.

Studio Art and Art History

  • Thaler, Ruth. “Art and the Written Word.” Journal of Basic Writing (Spring/Summer 1980): 72-81.


Collected by Yael Neuman

Assessment of students’ writing
* Anderson, Rebecca S, and Bruce W. Speck. "Suggestions for Responding to the Dilemma of Grading Students' Writing." English Journal. 86.1 (1997): 21-27.
Bazerman, Charles. Reference Guide to Writing Across the Curriculum. West Lafayette, Ind: Parlor Press, 2005. (Part III provides practical guidelines on the institutional operations
of WAC programs, assessment in WAC, and a few subject-specific (mathematics,
literature and language arts, psychology, economics, and history) examples of WAC
classroom practices).
* Beason, Larry. "Feedback and Revision in Writing Across the Curriculum Classes." Research in the Teaching of English. 27.4 (1993): 395-422.
* McEachern, Robert W.  “WAC Directors and the Politics of Grading.” The WAC Journal 15 (2004): 67-80.
Zak, Frances and Christopher C. Weaver, eds. The Theory and Practice of Grading Writing: Problems and Possibilities. Albany: SUNY Press, 1998. (Examines the grading of individual papers and portfolios as well as end-of-term grades).
Rubric creation
Angelo, Thomas A, and K P. Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1993.
* Bean, John C., David Carrithers, and Theresa Earenfight. "Transforming WAC Through a Discourse-based Approach to University Outcomes Assessment". The WAC Journal 16 (2005): 5-21. Detailed discussion of using grading rubrics with papers written for history courses for departmental assessment.
Huba, Mary E, and Jann E. Freed. Learner-centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
Mertler, Craig A. (2001). Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(25).
Shea, Kelly A., Balkun, Mary McAleer, Nolan, Susan A., Saccoman, John T., Wright, Joyce. “One More Time: Transforming the Curriculum Across the Disciplines Through Technology-Based Faculty Development and Writing-Intensive Course Redesign.” Across the Disciplines 3 (2011). Retrieved November 11, 2011, from http://wac.colostate.edu/atd/articles/shea2006.cfm
Explanation of how one university incorporated a WAC program into their technology plan, especially in the disciplines of mathematics, psychology, and nursing; contains sample assessment rubric. http://wac.colostate.edu/atd/articles/shea2006.cfm
Tombari, Martin L, and Gary D. Borich. Authentic Assessment in the Classroom: Applications and Practice. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Merrill, 1999.
Walvoord, Barbara E. F, and Virginia J. Anderson. Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment in College. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010.
Wilson, Maja. Rethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessment. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2006.
Writing in the Disciplines: Science
* Alaimo Peter J., John C. Bean, Joseph M. Langenhan, and Larry Nichols. “Eliminating Lab Reports: A Rhetorical Approach for Teaching the Scientific Paper in Sophomore Organic Chemistry.” The WAC Journal 20 (2009): 17-32.
Gustavii, Björn. How to Write & Illustrate a Scientific Paper. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003.
Hailman, Jack Parker. Planning, Proposing, and Presenting Science Effectively: A Guide for Graduate Students and Researchers in the Behavioral Sciences and Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997.
* Manahan Susan and Tom English. “ “I received your letter about thefruit flies...”: Interdisciplinary Scientific Correspondence as a Means of Transforming the Laboratory Experience.” The WAC Journal 13 (2002): 59-71.

* Reitsma, Len. “Innovative Writing Assignments in the Natural Sciences.” The WAC Journal 10 (1999): 57-63.
van der Steen, Wim J. Methods and Morals in the Life Sciences: A Guide for Analyzing and Writing Texts. CT: Praeger, 2001.
Writing in the Disciplines: Physics and Math
* Bahls Patrick. “Math and Metaphor: Using Poetry to Teach College Mathematics.” The WAC Journal 20 (2009): 75-90.
* Flesher, Tatyana. “Writing to Learn in Mathematics.” The WAC Journal 14 (2003): 37-48.
* Hamilton Sharon and Robert H. Orr. “Writing to Learn Quantitative Analysis: Doing Numbers with Words Works!” The WAC Journal 12 (2001): 49-59.
Kirkpatrick, L.D. and A. Pittendrigh. “A Writing Teacher in the Physics Classroom.” Physics Teacher. (March 1984): 159-64.
Miller, Diane L. “Begin Mathematics Class with Writing.” Mathematics Teacher 85 (June 1991): 129-36.
* Parker Adam and Michael Mattison. “By the Numbers.” The WAC Journal 21 (2010): 37-51.
Writing in the Disciplines: Business
* Bechard, Bonnie. “Using Writing in the Business Department to Pursue Excellence.” The WAC Journal 9 (1998): 95-104.
* Gregor, John. “Writing to Learn Economics.” Writing Across the Curriculum 1 (1989): 52-55.
Collected by Karece Lopez: 12/14/11

Madraso, J. (1993). Proofreading: The skill we've neglected to teach. The English Journal, 82(2), 32-41.

Goes through the faculty complaints: “they can’t write” and “they should already know this”. Explains that not all students know what you mean by proofreading  and often will say they did proofread papers in which the faculty member finds several errors. Provides specific techniques for proofreading and for avoiding the faculty member’s writing pet-peeves.

Simpson, M. S., & Carroll, S. E. (Autumn, 1999). Assignments for a writing-intensive economics course. The Journal of Economic Education, 30(4), 402-410.

WID specific to Economics but useful as a template for other departments. Covers the practical need for writing in the field and how to tailor coursework to those types of writing.

Dohrer, G. (1991). Do teachers' comments on students' papers help? College Teaching, 39(2), 48-54.

Abstract: Examines the effect of teachers' actual comments on students' writings. Students' reactions toward the teacher's comments; Student's attitude toward the teacher's comments and assessment of the papers; Relationship between teachers' comments and students' responses; Problems encountered by the students in revising the papers that they have written; Guidelines given to students and teacher in revising the papers.

Fu, D., & Townsend, J. S. (Fall, 1998). Cross-cultural dilemmas in writing: Need for transformations in teaching and learning. College Teaching, 46(4), 128-133.

Cites Zamel; compares student view (mostly Chinese) to faculty (mainstream American) view about writing. “Our purpose was to help teachers at all levels gain insight into the cultural assumptions and values that lie behind the choices students make in writing. Though we focus on Chinese perspectives -- sharply divergent from main stream America's -- we believe our findings hold important implications for teaching all the students in American schools. Our hope is that such information will enhance the teaching of students from different cultural backgrounds, improve the assessments of their writing, and create strategies to empower both students and teachers.” p. 129.

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