Making Writing Visible at Duke University

By Hillard, Van; Harris, Joseph | Peer Review, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Making Writing Visible at Duke University


Hillard, Van, Harris, Joseph, Peer Review


In 2000, Duke University put into place a new curriculum that requires all undergraduates to take a seminar in "Academic Writing" in their first year and two "writing in the disciplines" courses afterwards. This new emphasis on writing as a mode of learning and inquiry was spearheaded by the dean oi Trinity College, Robert Thompson, who made professionalizing the first-year writing course one of his priorities. Under his leadership, Duke decided to invest in a new postdoctoral faculty to teach an ambitiously reimagined first-year writing course.

"Academic Writing" is now the only course taken by every undergraduate at Duke. There are no prerequisites and no exemptions. More than 80 percent of the sections of this course are now taught by a faculty of twenty-five postdoctoral fellows in the University Writing Program. This multidisciplinary writing program is housed in the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Wiiting (CTLW), which also sponsors various programs supporting the work of undergraduate teachers at Duke-including workshops and consulting on teaching, a tutorial writing studio, training in teaching and technology, a Preparing Future Faculty program, a series of teaching breakfasts and lunches, and speakers and symposia on the scholarship of teaching. Our efforts to remake the first-year writing course are thus tightly connected to college-wide attempts to rethink the intellectual work of undergraduate teaching.

"Writing in the disciplines" (WlD) courses are designed and staffed by faculty and graduate teaching assistants in the various departments throughout Duke. Students in WID courses are expected to write regularly throughout the semester, to discuss the work they are doing as writers in class, to revise their work in response to comments from their teachers and peers, and to leam about the roles and uses of writing in the ReId they are studying. To have a course designated as writing intensive, faculty must show how they will teach towards these four guidelines. The CTLW offers both workshops and one-on-one consulting for teachers of WID courses.

In the last four years, more than 200 WID courses have been developed and taught across a wide range of departments, many several times and in multiple sections. Not all of these courses center on teaching the critical essay; rather, since their aim is to introduce students to the actual forms of writing practiced in the various disciplines, many instructors instead ask students to compose policy memos, field and lab reports, grant proposals, conference posters, Web sites, software programs, or proofs. In describing how these two new writing initiatives at Duke build on and diverge irom each other, we thus might say that while our first-year course draws on the materials of the disciplines to highlight issues in academic writing, WID courses make use of writing to investigate issues in the disciplines.

Interdisciplinarity

Since one of the aims of "Academic Writing" is to prepare students to approach writing in a wide range of disciplinary contexts, it seemed counterproductive to imagine a faculty for that first-year course composed only of scholars trained in English or composition. And so the first-year writing faculty at Duke is now truly multiclisciplinary. In the last several years we have recruited young scholars with PhDs in African-American studies, anthropology, architecture, biology, cultural studies, economics, education, engineering, English, epidemiology, genetics, history, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, rhetoric, sociology, and women's studies to teach "Academic Writing." The Utopian goal of interdisciplinarity is thus an everyday, lived reality in the First-Year Writing Program. What gives our work its sense of coherence is not a set of specialized topics or controversies, as is the case in most departments, but a collective teaching project. We all teach the same course, if in very different ways, and that is what we talk about when we come together as a group; it is what centers our intellectual work. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Making Writing Visible at Duke University
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.