DSC faculty publish benefits of writing across the curriculum
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2017) - A study by three Daytona State College faculty members on how the college's Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Discipline (WAC/WID) program enhances student success was published in the latest peer-reviewed journal, Across the Disciplines.
The study by professors Jessica Kester, Trey Orndorff and Maggie Karda, along with Rebecca Block, former director of the DSC Writing Center, showed that student grades and completion rates in WAC/WID-infused courses improved by at least half a letter grade, and that student completion improved by almost 8 percent. The results were similar for students across all demographic groups, including first-time-in-college students. It is the only study of its kind related to WAC/WID programs at open-enrollment institutions like Daytona State.
"This study shows we have the ability to affect students early in their college experience," said Kester. "We don't have to wait until they are in a major. We can benefit many more students if we focus on students taking the so-called unavoidable curriculums such as general education courses that everybody has to take, rather than wait until they get into a major before we emphasize writing in the discipline."
Spearheaded by Kester in 2013, DSC's WAC/WID program emphasizes the link between literacy education and disciplinary study. Kester's team works with fellow faculty in redesigning their courses within a framework of best practices in writing studies theory and pedagogy in order to expand the writing expectations in the courses. Virtually all courses can be enhanced through WAC/WID. For example, in a mathematics class, rather than simply having a student calculate a formula, an instructor might have the student write about why and how the formula was used.
While such programs are commonly implemented in upper-level undergraduate courses at the nation's universities, they are relatively rare at community colleges and open-enrollment institutions such as DSC, where the majority of students are enrolled in workforce and technical programs or the two-year university transfer associate degree. But, the study shows, the benefits can be no less dramatic.
"Here, we are not dealing with upper-level students in a major, where faculty might take more responsibility for teaching specific forms of writing because they know that student is going to be, say, an engineer who will need to write specific kinds of reports," said Kester. "So when we started our program, we wanted to make sure it was relevant across a broader range of both students and faculty. Our emphasis is on writing to learn, to foster critical thinking. This study also shows that those who complete WAC/WID redesigned courses feel more confidence in their writing abilities, which will help them be more successful in future classes."
Since the program's inception, nearly 60 DSC faculty have revised their courses to
reflect WAC/WID principles. Learn more about DSC's WAC/WID program at daytonastate.edu/cwc/wacwid.html. For the full article, visit wac.colostate.edu/atd/hip/kesteretal2016.cfm.
MORE: Offering more than 100 certificate, associate and bachelor’s degree programs, Daytona State College is the leader in education and workforce training needs of Volusia and Flagler counties and beyond for more than 60 years. The College enrolls nearly 25,000 students a year at its seven instructional sites, with graduates serving in critical fields including healthcare, emergency services/public safety, business, education, hospitality, engineering, technology, digital media, and more.
Daytona State has been recognized as a leader in higher education numerous times, consistently by U.S. News & World Report, which ranks the College among the Top Tier Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center has ranked DSC among the top 50 most affordable public four-year institutions in the country, with less than half the tuition of the national average. Community College Week, a leading publication in higher education, annually continues to feature the college in its list of Top 100 Associate Degree Producers. And U.S. News & World Report has ranked DSC among its Top Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans multiple times.
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Chris Thomes, Chris.Thomes@DaytonaState.edu
Marketing & Communications, Marketing@DaytonaState.edu
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