Writing in the Academic Disciplines: A Curricular History

By David R. Russell | Go to book overview

10

THE WRITING-ACROSS‐
THE-CURRICULUM
MOVEMENT
1990-2000

In the ten years since the first edition of this book appeared, the myth of transience has remained very much alive, and writing is still transparent to the great majority of teachers and students. But signs of change are even more evident than a decade ago, in individual faculty, in disciplines and institutions, and in the U. S. education system in general.

It should come as no surprise that the change has been incremental rather than radical. Writing across the curriculum is still not so much about curriculum per se (what gets taught and learned) but about fundamental reform of teaching and learning (the process of teaching and learning what gets taught and learned). And the same institutional structures fundamentally resist it: the decentralized nature of education; its separation of research and teaching within higher education; its divisions into institutions, disciplines, and discrete courses; and particularly the very loose structures of collaboration—and accountability—that go with decentralization. Similarly, the WAC movement has been very much decentralized, so change is not neatly linear but immensely varied and dispersed.

Yet education in the U. S., like education worldwide, moved in the 1990s to a recognition of these fundamental structural barriers to change. WAC has both supported and benefited from the increasing attention to educational reform. Indeed, the story of WAC in the 1990s is part of the story of an emerging culture of

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