I. WAC and WID Terms

WAC—WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM is a writing instruction program that pervades the entire college curriculum where interdisciplinary approaches use writing to learn and to communicate in general education as well as major courses of study.

WID—WRITING IN THE DISCIPLINES refers to the writing done in a student’s chosen field of study.

A GENRE is a mode of discourse suitable for a specific purpose or field. Each academic discipline has its own manner of expression, vocabulary, formats, and habits of thought so that anyone intending to communicate in that field must be familiar with and be able to join in its expression. Michael Carter of North Carolina State says in “Ways of Knowing, Doing, and Writing in the Disciplines,”

Miller, Bazerman, and Russell … define genre as social action, ways of doing and writing by which individual linguistic acts on the microlevel constitute social formations on the macrolevel…. [T]hey establish the concept of genre set as a collection of related genres …. [and] use the genre set to indicate the role that related genres play in constituting complex social formations. (393)

(See METAGENRE below.)

INFORMATION LITERACY: Information literate students can recognize an information need, find, select, locate and evaluate the information they need, and incorporate what they discover competently and responsibly in any field. Information literate students should be able to demonstrate competencies in formulating research questions and in their ability to use information.

METAGENRE is defined by Michael Carter of NC State as “a higher category, a genre of genres.” He adds, “[A] metagenre indicates a structure of similar ways of doing that point to similar ways of writing and knowing” (393). Carter’s four metagenres (or ways of doing) are (1) Problem Solving (defining a problem and creating a solution such as in business, marketing and management plans, project reports or proposals, and technical and feasibility reports); (2) Empirical Inquiry (drawing conclusions based on investigation of empirical data as in laboratory or research reports, research proposals, scientific articles and presentations); (3) Research from Sources (data from secondary sources intrinsic to a discipline such as History or English); and (4) Performance (knowing as doing, performance and its artifacts such as drawings, sculptures, paintings, films, news stories and editorials, websites, Power Point presentations, technical reports, theatre and dance exhibitions).

TRANSFERABLE SKILLS is the term for the adaptation of one skill set in a particular context to a different context. The “soft” transfers entail contexts which are similar while the “hard” transfers depend on deliberate abstraction from one context to another. An example of a soft transfer would occur when a student new to history creates a References page in APA format, using the skills previously learned for creating a Works Cited page in MLA format; a hard transfer occurs when a student uses the skills learned when writing a literacy narrative to write a historiography essay.

The VERTICAL MODEL OF INSTRUCTION at Appalachian State refers to a coordinated and progressive laddering of skills where early attempts build to emerging or advanced mastery to expert and professional mastery.

In the Vertical Writing Model, students will take a writing course in each of the traditional four years of their college experience with increasing introduction and specialization in their chosen fields.

  • English 1000 is a freshman-level course which explores expository writing, research, and critical thinking.
  • English 2001, Introduction to Writing Across the Curriculum,is a sophomore-level course in which students are introduced to the many genres of writing expected in different fields of study and work.
    • ENG 2001 at ASU has four main approaches (some teachers use a combination of these approaches):
      1. Argument model (reading and writing academic arguments, analyzing and writing arguments across disciplines and rhetorical situations);
      2. Rhetoric model (studying academic discourse as a rhetoric, practicing persuasive techniques in rhetorical situations);
      3. Writing Studies model (writing about writing, investigating issues related to writing in different contexts and for different audiences);
      4. Traditional WAC model (reading and writing conventional genres in different fields).
  • WID—Writing in the Discipline is a junior-level writing course for majors which focuses on the discourse of that particular discipline.
  • A Capstone is writing in the major at an advanced level which is to be designed by majors, with an information literacy component.

A WAC CONSULTANT is a professional writing instructor with special interests and training to support and encourage instructors in the academic fields in which the junior WID and senior capstone courses are offered. (See Section V. RESOURCES for more information about ASU’s WAC Consultants.)

Contact Us

For information about the Writing Across the Curriculum Program please contact Director Georgia Rhoades at (828) 262-2075 or e-mail at rhoadesgd@appstate.edu

Writing Across the Curriculum Program
Appalachian State University
253 Anne Belk Hall
ASU Box 32033
Boone, NC 28608-2033

(828) 262-2075 (office)
(828) 262-2032 (fax)

For more information about WAC

Vertical Writing Model

WAC Film

Community College Support

Web Resources

QEP Global Learning