Christina R. McDonald, Ph.D.
Institute Director of Writing

Ph: (540) 464-7240
Fax:  (540) 464-7779

English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, VA 24450 

Contact Institute Writing

Writing Across the Curriculum

The Writing Across the Curriculum Initiative (WAC) has two primary goals: to provide opportunities for cadets to develop discipline-specific skills in written communication and to encourage the use of writing to promote active learning across the curriculum.  Writing-intensive courses build on cadets’ experiences in the first-year composition sequence and train them to communicate effectively according to the distinct conventions of different academic disciplines.  Such training helps to prepare cadets not only for successful professional lives in their chosen fields but also for full participation in their lives as educated citizens.

Each cadet is required to take a minimum of two upper-level courses that are officially designated as writing-intensive (W). At least one of these courses must be in the cadet's major.  Writing-intensive courses provide cadets with regular opportunities to use writing to learn, analyze, and synthesize the materials of the course.  In both formal and informal assignments, cadets also refine their ability to revise their writing in response to the needs of different audiences.

The WAC Liaison Committee has primary responsibility for administering the Institute's core writing-intensive course requirement.  Representatives from the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Economics and Business, English and Fine Arts History, Math and Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Modern Languages, Physical Education, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology and Philosophy serve on the committee, which presents workshops and symposia throughout the year for faculty who wish to discuss options and possibilities for using writing in their courses. The committee also occasionally sponsors presentations for cadets.