Well...here I am about to develop a WAC program, a Writing Center, and an official writing program from within a rather complex structure. My new university is a "regional center," a step-child of sorts. The main campus is structured as a traditional university nearly 2000 miles away, but they create the course manuals and curricula for adult students (23 years of age and older) in accelerated undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Many of these students have ESL related issues with which to contend as they move through 5 week courses filled with unfamiliar reading and writing expectations. Oh, did I mention that the university just recently began accepting into this program students with >15 to 0 credits? Faculty? They are almost entirely adjunct. Freshman writing courses have been re-written to include "remedial" work--mostly in grammar. There is no real English Department here--though I believe they have one at the traditional campus. While there is an onsite administrator with a Ph.D. in Curriculum Development and several years of experience as a high school English teacher, I think I may be the only Composition "specialist" between the two campuses. YIKES!
I've been delighted to find that the local administration is eager to develop a strong student support system for writing. And this small Christian university is by no means backward or rigid. Sadly, almost everyone I've spoken to has been extremely focused on "grammar" even though they want a WAC program. They have conceived WAC as GAC--Grammar Across th Curriculum...not so unusual, I suppose. Isn't that essentially how faculty in traditional settings tend to see writing programs?
OK, so here's my deal... I'm trying to figure out which bite I want to take out of this elephant first. My gut tells me to try and get the WC going first--concrete, immediate support for students. (Did I mention that there is no money in the budget for a WC? LOL! I love the creativity challenge!) What do you all think? I'm also determined to establish a writing committee so that we can collaborate on the development of a long range plan. I want to be cautious about stepping on the toes of an already small, under-funded, over-extended staff.
What says the WPA peanut gallery? I'm open to all ideas and would love to hear from others who are responsible for writing programs or instruction in accelerated programs.
Trinity International University