Disciplinary and Professional Writing &
Writing Across the Curriculum
Prepared by Virginia Draper,
former Coordinator, Writing Across the Curriculum, U. of California, Santa Cruz
History, Theory, & Comprehensive Web Sites
Pedagogy and Classroom Practices
Campus-wide Programs (WAC, WID, CAC, ECAC)
Research on Disciplinary and Professional Writing
Style Manuals
Writing Guides and Handouts
Handbooks for Writing in Specific Fields and Disciplines
These resources are not organized by disciplines, except in the HANDBOOK section. However,
those who want to find resources related to specific disciplinary or departmental courses
should be able to do so easily by scanning the annotations. Those interested in writing in
graduate school will find some relevant references and links on the major Web sites.
History, Theory, Comprehensive Web sites
Bazerman, Charles and David R. Russell, eds. (1994). Landmark Essays on Writing Across the Curriculum.
Davis, CA: Hermagoras Press.
Noting that students must master specialized discourses if they want to participate in the “powerful activities
and social roles that expertise confers in modern cultures,” the editors identify two goals of the writing across
the curriculum movement: to make “the discursive activities [of the academy]…more accessible to nonexperts,” and to make academic discourses more available for “democratic scrutiny and dialogue” (xvi). The
preface and introduction situate the writing across the curriculum movement in the western rhetorical tradition
and in relation to the rise of specialized discourses in European and American societies. The twelve essays (all
but one published since 1976) describe the 20 th century origins of the movement in the United States,
institutional projects, classroom activities, and discipline-oriented research. For a succinct history of the
writing-across-the-curriculum movement in the U.S. and its origins in the progressive movement and British
Language Across the Curriculum movement, see David Russell’s essay, “American Origins of the Writingacross-the Curriculum Movement” (3-22).
McLeod, Susan, E. Miraglia, M. Soven, and C. Thaiss. eds. WAC for the New Millennium. Urbana, Illinois:
NCTE, 2001.
This book testifies to the writing-across-the-curriculum movement’s commitment to improving undergraduate
education, describes the diversity among programs, reviews recent advances in theory and research, and shows
how those involved in writing across the curriculum programs can help higher education meet current
challenges. Topics include the history and evolving theories of writing across the curriculum; writing centers
and curriculum-based peer tutors; writing-intensive and linked courses; the results of naturalistic studies of
students’ writing in higher education; challenges and ways of meeting the needs of increasingly diverse students
(including bilingual students); program evaluation and ways WAC programs can assist departments in the “Age
of Accountability”; electronic communication; and service learning. The authors do not champion particular
institutional or course models; rather they show how collaboration with others to meet the challenges and
“massive change” higher education is facing has and can assure the quality of undergraduate education and
support “effective teaching and student learning” (22).
Foster, David & David R. Russell, eds. Writing and Learning in Cross-National Perspective: Transitions
from Secondary to Higher Education. (2003). Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English,
This is the first book-length, cross-national comparison of students’ development as academic writers.
Contributors describe ways students from China, England, France, Germany, Kenya, and South Africa “write
their ways into the communities of their chosen disciplines,” and show how learning to write raises “issues of
student authorship and agency, as well as larger issues of educational access, institutional power relations,
system goals, and students’ roles in society” (from the cover blurb). As global communication increases and
more students are attending higher education, comparisons among practices in these countries and those in the
United States provide valuable new perspectives into the nature of and need for advanced literacies and for
continued research.
Russell, David R. Writing in the Academic Disciplines, 1870-1990. A Curricular History. (1991).
Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press.
In this illuminating history, Russell shows how American undergraduates’ writing (and learning) has been
neglected by “largely tacit traditions” that ignore the rhetorical nature of academic discourses, that see writing
as merely transcribed oral speech, and that reduce writing to a mechanical skill divorced from learning. Russell
goes on to link current debates about the importance of writing for academic learning to curricular debates
about who and what should be taught in higher education. By clarifying the philosophical foundations of these
debates, Russell provides ways for teachers in higher education to think and talk about the relationships
between writing, language, and learning more fruitfully and across specializations.
Russell, David R. “Where do the Naturalistic Studies of WAC/WID Point? A Research Review” (2001). In
McLeod, et al. WAC for the New Millennium. (2001). Urbana, Illinois: NCTE.
Russell discusses the implications for undergraduate teaching and learning of more than one hundred recent
(since 1990) naturalistic (rather than experimental) studies of writers and writing in general or liberal education,
introductory and intermediate courses in the majors, graduate and internship education, and professional
workplaces. He begins by noting that some experimental studies suggest that “writing does not automatically
improve” either learning or thinking and that “[s]imple fact-based learning may be better achieved through
other strategies” (259). However, if teachers want students to be able to think and communicate in more
complex ways, teachers must abandon the idea that writing is “a single generalizable skill, learned once and for
all at an early age,” and see writing as “a complex range of accomplishments, variously tied to myriad human
practices” (260). Learning a new genre or kind of writing has four major aspects: learners must be motivated;
they must be willing to assume the identity required by the rhetorical situation; they need to acquire the tools to
succeed; and they need to understand and undertake the processes that contribute to the final product. He
concludes that recent research suggests that if we want students to engage in “writing experiences that go
beyond rote recall,” we need to ask more than “What do we want them to know?” We also need to ask “What
do we want students to be able to do with the material of the course?” Teachers need to take into account that
“the why, who, and how…are as important as the content—the what—in learning to write and writing to learn”
Villenueva, Victor. “The Politics of Literacy Across the Curriculum.” (2001). In McLeod, et al. WAC for
the New Millennium. (2001). Urbana, Illinois: NCTE.
Villenueva challenges those involved in writing across the curriculum to work more actively to reform
pedagogy in order to avoid an assimilationist model of learning to write in the disciplines and to stop
“reproducing a school system that has traditionally failed to educate the woman, the poor, or the person of color
at the same rate of efficiency as others” (170). Among other things, he insists that students should not be
required to “erase where they’ve been” as they learn the new ways of writing needed to get where “they wish to
go by way of the academy” (175). As writing specialists share their expertise about how to help students
become better writers and learners, Villenueva suggests that they also draw upon the expertise of their
colleagues in history, sociology, etc. to better “understand the social processes that could relegate such a large
number [of students] to the trouble-heap: the poor and the racial or ethnic majority” (170).
The WAC Clearinghouse:
This is the place to start for information on all aspects and kinds of written communication in the academic
disciplines and professions, as well as theoretical perspectives and research. The WAC Clearinghouse has
resources for teachers who use writing in their courses as well as five journals and four book series. The
Resource list is in the lower right hand corner of the Home Web page. It includes WAC Links and
Bibliography, WAC Programs and Consultants, Writing Fellows Programs, Theses and Dissertations, Research
on WAC, An Introduction to WAC.
The WAC Clearinghouse Bibliography:
Nine useful annotated bibliographies selected by leaders in the field. Categories include Assessment,
Curriculum and Lesson Planning; Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum; Faculty Development,
Program Design and Development; Studies and Research Reports; WAC and Writing Centers; WAC History;
WAC Theory.
Pedagogy and Classroom Practices
Bean, John C. (1996). Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking,
and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
This book is probably the one most recommended to teachers who want to engage students in active learning
and critical thinking in their courses--both large lectures and small seminars. Bean has especially valuable
suggestions about creating writing assignments that pose problems and provide students with the guidance and
rhetorical situations they need to compose in various genres. Examples of assignments are from teachers in the
Arts, Business, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences. Bean provides a particularly useful analysis of the
implicit roles students are asked to assume as writers, an analysis worth sharing with students. The book
includes suggestions about why and how to ask for less formal kinds of writing (in lectures and in response to
readings) and how to hold productive conferences.
CAC Resources for Teachers.
Developed by the Communications Across the Curriculum program at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale,
this web site has “dozens of handouts to help teachers and graduate assistants better implement communication
and writing skills into their curriculum.” Topics include Learning to Write Continuum, Why Include Writing,
Responding to Writing, Evaluating Writing, Uses of Academic Journal Writing, Teaching Note Taking,
Knowledge Transfer and Composition, and Teaching for Active Learning.
Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The Council of Writing Program Administrators Statement on Best
According to its developers, "[t]his statement responds to the growing educational concerns about plagiarism in
four ways: by defining plagiarism; by suggesting some of the causes of plagiarism; by proposing a set of
responsibilities (for students, teachers, and administrators) to address the problem of plagiarism; and by
recommending a set of practices for teaching and learning that can significantly reduce the likelihood of
plagiarism. The statement is intended to provide helpful suggestions and clarifications so that instructors,
administrators, and students can work together more effectively in support of excellence in teaching and
Hedengren, Beth Finch. (2004) A TA’s Guide to Teaching Writing In All Disciplines. Bedford/St. Martin’s
Professional Resources. Bedford/St, Martin’s. Also see Web site:
The Web site supporting A TA's Guide has a glossary of writing-related terms, sample grading rubrics, a brief
overview of the writing process, annotated links to TA support sites on the Web, downloadable forms and
worksheets, and information on how to use A TA's Guide in a TA training course.
An Introduction to Writing Across the Curriculum
Compiled by Kate Kiefer, Colorado State University, this web site is for teachers (and their teaching assistants)
who are interested in including writing in their courses and helping students use writing to become more
successful learners in their fields. Gives answers to questions teachers frequently ask: Why include writing in
my courses? What kinds of writing can I include? What is writing to learn? What is writing in the disciplines?
Do I have to be an expert in grammar? Do writing and peer review take up too much class time? How can I
avoid getting lousy student papers? What makes a good writing assignment? How can I get the most out of
peer-review? How can I handle papers? Why consider collaborative writing assignments?
Professional Writing at Purdue.
The site has a wide range of resources and links to teacher resources, technical writing/publishing resources and
online journals including The Writing Instructor.
Teacher Resources from the Manoa Writing Program, University of Hawai’i
A set of succinct and helpful “tip sheets” based on this university’s extensive writing across the curriculum
program in pdf downloadable form. Topics include Effective Writing Assignments, Handling the Paperload,
Using Writing to Improve Reading, etc. Also includes syllabi for writing intensive course in many disciplines.
Technical Writing: Resources For Teaching
For teachers of mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering, these resources were compiled by contributors
from Virginia Tech, Univ. Illinois, Univ. Texas, and Georgia Tech. They include classroom exercises and
presentation slides on designing writing assignments, interactive teaching, illustrating documents, and teaching
style and form.
University of Minnesota’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Writing.
Web site contains excellent information for teachers who want to integrate writing into existing courses. Topics
include creating assignments, grading writing, and discipline-specific writing strategies.
Writing Across the Curriculum Bibliographies
Arranged by disciplines, these downloadable bibliographies were developed by Professor Peter Sands
(University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) to help teachers “to bring writing into your classroom in ways that
support student learning, experimentation, and the mastery of disciplinary knowledge.” The bibliographies
include descriptions of courses, practices, and classroom research in Africology, Anthropology, Art History,
Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Communication, Economics, Foreign Languages, General Science,
Geosciences, History, Mass Communication, Mathematical Sciences, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, and
Sociology. Most entries have abstracts or annotations. This is a good place to find out about the professional
journals on teaching in specific disciplines, e.g., Journal of Chemical Education, Journal of Economic
Education, Teaching of Psychology, Teaching Sociology.
Writing Across the Curriculum: Instructor Resources. The Ohio State University Center for the Study and
Teaching of Writing.
Has especially useful resources on collaborative learning and writing and annotated bibliographies of classroom
research on the uses of writing to improve learning and communication arranged by disciplines. Disciplines
include Accounting, American Studies, Economics, Education, History, Philosophy, Sociology, and Statistics.
Writing Across the Curriculum George Mason University
Has a superb section entitled “Teaching with Writing,” as well as other resources including reports on their
comprehensive assessment program.
Young, Art. 2002. Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum, Third Edition. WAC Clearinghouse Landmark
Publications in Writing Studies: Originally published in print,
1999, by Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
From WAC Clearinghouse Web site: “Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum…provides a comprehensive,
accessible discussion of teaching writing across the curriculum. Written by one of the leaders in the field of
writing across the curriculum (WAC), it offers a brief introduction to WAC and then discusses how writing can
be used to help students learn and communicate.” Art Young notes that “this book can serve as a guide to
teachers who have been assigned or who have volunteered to teach a required 'writing-intensive' course in their
discipline as well as to faculty who themselves decide to include student writing, whether occasionally or
frequently, in their courses." This book would also be useful for teaching assistants.
Campus-wide Programs: Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), Writing in the Disciplines
(WID), Communication Across the Curriculum (CAC), and Electronic Communication
Across the Curriculum (ECAC)
Assessing WAC/WID
Describes the comprehensive assessment of the WAC program at George Mason University, including
“Assessing Student Writing Competence” in each major based on criteria developed by departments. Extremely
valuable models.
McLeod, Susan H., and Soven, Margot, eds. (2000). Writing Across the Curriculum: A Guide to Developing
Programs. WAC Clearinghouse Landmark Publications in Writing Studies: Originally Published in Print, 1992, by Sage Publications,
Newbury Park, California.
From WAC Clearinghouse web site: “In 12 chapters, the contributors to this important collection discuss issues
including program design, writing in the disciplines, writing to learn, writing-intensive courses, and the
relationships among WAC programs, first-year writing programs, general education, and writing centers.” This
book is particularly useful for program administrators and people who want a quick introduction to various
aspects of first decade of the writing-across-the-curriculum movement. The book is available in whole and in
part in PDF.
The Manoa Writing Program, University of Hawaii
Overview of this university’s writing intensive program including substantial and informative research and links
to “Writing Matters,” handouts for instructors developed by program administrators.
The National Network of Writing Across the Curriculum Programs (Elementary-University)
From the web site publisher: “The National Network is an informal community of more than 600 teachers and
institutions at all levels of education. The Network produces an annually updated directory of members, each
entry including information about the listed programs. The purpose of the Network is to facilitate exchange of
ideas and practices among member institutions. The National WAC Network site provides online resources and
links to other sites.”
Reiss, Donna, Dickie Selfe, and Art Young, eds. Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum. Urbana,
IL: NCTE, 1998.
See Web site developed by Donna Reiss for resources for guidelines and tips on using electronic
communication such as designing and assessing electronic discussions;
Research on Disciplinary and Professional Writing
Bazerman, Charles. 2000. Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental
Article in Science. WAC Clearinghouse Landmark Publications in Writing Studies: Originally Published in Print, 1988, by University of
Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin. This book is available in whole and in part in Adobe Acrobat's Portable
Document Format (PDF).
From WAC Clearinghouse Web site: “In Shaping Written Knowledge, Charles Bazerman traces the history and
character of the experimental article in science, calling attention to the social and rhetorical forces that shaped
its development. Truly a landmark in writing studies, this book provides a broadly interdisciplinary exploration
of an important genre and offers insights that extend far beyond its immediate focus of study.”
Bazerman, Charles and David R. Russell, eds. (2003) Writing Selves/Writing Societies: Research from
Activity Perspectives. Fort Collins, Colorado: The WAC Clearinghouse and Mind, Culture, and Activity. For
html and PDF versions:
From the authors: “This collection brings together fourteen new empirical studies of writing as it is used in a
range of activities—educational, workplace, civic, and personal. Our goal is to show the commonalties in
research on writing and activity, and to spark interdisciplinary dialog among researchers who use activity
approaches to writing.”
Bazerman, Charles and James Paradis. (2004). Textual Dynamics of the Professions: Historical and
Contemporary Studies of Writing in Professional Communities. WAC Clearinghouse Landmark
Publications in Writing Studies: Originally Published
in Print, 1991, by University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin.
From WAC Clearinghouse Web site: “In Textual Dynamics of the Profession, 15 essays examine the effects of
texts on professional practices in academic, scientific, and business settings. Editors Charles Bazerman and
James Paradis characterize ‘textual dynamics’ as an interaction in which professional texts and discourses are
constructed by, and in turn construct, social practices. Lauded for its contribution to the field of rhetoric and
composition, this landmark collection offers essays that make a significant contribution to the scholarship of
professional discourse practices.”
Style Manuals
Resources for Documenting Sources:
Contains list of style manuals and websites for all academic disciplines including Chemistry, Earth Sciences,
Law, Management, and Medicine.
Williams, Joseph. Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 7th ed. (2002). Pearson Longman.
ISBN 0321095170,1144,0321095170-TOC,00.html
This book would be valuable for all academic and professional writers. Williams begins with an analysis of
styles that fail to communicate clearly and then shows more effective ways of constructing and linking
sentences to achieve clarity and grace. He explains the principles and ethics for developing reader-friendly
styles and provides many helpful examples and plentiful exercises drawn from academic and professional prose.
The book also includes an insightful analysis of correctness and excellent advice on punctuation. Ideal for an
upper division writing course in any discipline, though instructors may want to focus on only a few chapters.
Advanced and graduate students could work through most of this book on their own.
Writing Guides and Handouts
Handouts and Materials for Students and Teachers
Over 200 handouts on a variety of topics related to writing. Six main sections: General Writing Concerns
(Planning/Writing/Revising/Genres); English as a Second Language; Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation;
Research and Documenting Sources; Professional Writing; Writing Across the Curriculum; Writing On and
With the Internet.
Writing Guides.
A rich set of guides for all aspects of academic and professional writing designed by the Writing Center at
Colorado State University. Topics include Writing Processes, Types of Documents, Using Sources, Researching
Sources, Speeches and Presentations, Using Graphics, Empirical Research, and Reading.
Handbooks on Writing in Specific Disciplines
Most handbooks are written by teachers of the disciplines, sometimes in collaboration with writing teachers.
Instructors may want to require handbooks for their courses or keep ones on their shelves for reference. Desk
copies can be ordered from the publisher. Below are some currently available handbooks with links to the
Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Art. (2003). Longman.
ISBN 0-321-10144-8.
Bernstein, Mashey & George Yatchisin. Writing for the Visual Arts. (2001). Prentice Hall.
ISBN 0-13-022548-7.,1144,0130225487,00.html
Sayre, Henry. Writing About Art, 4th ed. (2002) Prentice Hall.
ISBN 0-13-041614-2.,1144,0130416142,00.html
McMillan, Victoria E. Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences, 3rd ed. (2001) Bedford/St. Martin’s.
ISBN 0–312–25857–7.
Pechenik, Jan A. A Short Guide to Writing About Biology (2004). Longman.
ISBN 0-321-15981-0.
Oliu, Walter, Charles T. Brusaw, Gerald J. Alred. Writing That Works (Communicating Effectively on the
Job) 8th ed. (2004) Bedford/St. Martin's.
ISBN 0-312-40853-6.
Beall, Herbert & John Trimbur. A Short Guide to Writing about Chemistry. (2001). Longman.
ISBN 0-321-07844-6.
Kovac, Jeffrey & Donna Sherwood. Writing Across the Chemistry Curriculum: An Instructor's
Handbook. (2001). Prentice Hall.
ISBN 0-13-029284-2.,1144,0130292842,00.html
Hart, Hillary. Introduction to Engineering Communication (2005; est. Availability: 07/01/04) Prentice Hall.
ISBN 0-13-146102-8.,1144,0131461028,00.html
Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing About Film. (2004). Longman.
ISBN 0-321-09665-7.
Marius, Richard A. & Melvin E. Page. A Short Guide to Writing About History. (2005). Longman.
ISBN 0-321-22716-6.
Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. (2004) Bedford/St. Martin's.
ISBN 0-312-40357-7.
Storey, William Kelleher. Writing History: A Guide for Students. 2nd ed. (2003). Oxford University Press.
ISBN 0195166094.
The Missouri Group: Brian S. Brooks, George Kennedy, Daryl Moen, Don Ranly. News Reporting and
Writing, 7th ed. (2002). Bedford/St. Martin's. ISBN 0-312-39699-6.
Hames, Joanne Banker & Yvonne Ekern. (2000). Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing: An Integrated
Approach. (2000) Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-244799-1.,1144,0132447991,00.html
Barnet, Sylvan & William E. Cain. A Short Guide to Writing About Literature. (2003). Longman.
ISBN 0-321-10476-5.
Gardner, Janet E. Writing About Literature (A Portable Guide) (2004). Bedford/St. Martin's.
ISBN 0-312-41282-7.
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing About Literature, 10th edition. (2002) Prentice Hall.
ISBN 0-13-097801-9.,1144,0130978019-DS,00.html
Bellman, Jonathan. A Short Guide to Writing About Music. (2000). Longman.
ISBN 0-321-01577-0.
Wingell, Richard. Writing About Music: An Introductory Guide, 3rd edition. (2002). Prentice Hall.
ISBN 0-13-040603-1.,1144,0130406031,00.html
Tornquist, Elizabeth M. From Proposal to Publication: An Informal Guide to Writing About Nursing
Research. (1986). Prentice Hall.
ISBN 0-201-08012-5.,1144,0201080125,00.html
Bedau, Hugo. Thinking and Writing about Philosophy. (2002). Bedford/St. Martin's.
ISBN 0-312-39653-8.
Graybosch, Anthony J., Gregoy M. Scott, & Stephen M. Garrison. The Philosophy Student Writer's Manual,
2nd edition. (2003) Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-099166-X.,1144,013099166X,00.html
Dunn, Dana. A Short Guide to Writing About Psychology. (2004). Longman.
ISBN 0-321-09424-7.
Porush, David. A Short Guide to Writing About Science. (1995). Longman.
ISBN 0-06-500754-9.
Cuba, Lee J. A Short Guide to Writing about Social Science. (2002). Longman.
ISBN 0-321-07842-X.
Hansen, Kristine. A Rhetoric for the Social Sciences: A Guide to Academic and Professional
Communication. (1998). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-440272-3.,1144,0134402723,00.html
Becker, Howard. Writing for Social Scientists. (1986). UChicago Press.
ISBN 022604108.
Sociology Writing Group (UCLA). A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers, 5th edition. (2001). Worth.
ISBN 1572599510.
Alred, Gerald J., Charles T. Brusaw, & Walter Oliu. Handbook of Technical Writing (2003). Bedford/St.
Martin's. ISBN 0–312–39323–7.