Engaging with WAC: Linking Writing, Critical Thinking, and Student Engagement

Building on the observation that writing and speaking are among the most effective ways of engaging students in critical engagement with course content and disciplinary practices — in particular, through the added cognitive processing required to transform knowledge into writing or speaking — this workshop will help participants consider the role writing and speaking across the curriculum can play in engaging students more deeply in their courses. Drawing on strategies that emerge from the writing-across-the-curriculum movement, this workshop will consider the connections between the critical thinking skills we hope to foster through our teaching and the strategies we might use to develop and strengthen those skills. Participants can expect to leave the workshop with an understanding of key approaches to writing and speaking across the curriculum, the role these approaches can play in supporting active teaching and learning, and the role they can play in supporting the development of learners’ critical thinking skills. Hands-on activities will ask participants to apply these approaches to current or planned courses. Participants should expect to leave with one or more activities they might use in their courses.

Mike Palmquist is Associate Provost for Instructional Innovation, Professor of English, and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Colorado State University, where he supports university-wide efforts to enhance learning and teaching across the disciplines. His scholarly interests include writing across the curriculum, the effects of computer and network technologies on writing instruction, and new approaches to scholarly publishing.

His work has appeared in journals including College English, College Composition and Communication, ADE Bulletin, Computers and Composition, Written Communication, Writing Program Administration, Marketing Education Review, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Kairos, and Social Forces, as well as in edited collections. Since 1992, he has coordinated the development of Writing@CSU
(writing.colostate.edu) and its Web-based learning environment, the Writing Studio. Since 1997, he has served as founding editor of the WAC Clearinghouse (wac.colostate.edu).

In 2004, he was the recipient of the Charles Moran Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field, awarded by Computers and Composition. In 2006, he was presented with the Outstanding Technology Innovator by the CCCC Committee on Computers in Composition and Communication.