English, Rhetoric, and Writing
President Scott Colley addressed faculty gathered to discuss Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) on February 6, 1999. The following are thoughts he shared on the importance of writing for students and faculty:
The Writing Program is important because it is the most direct path to empowerment and self-discovery. An excellent writer from Berry will stand shoulder to shoulder with the best graduates of Harvard and Stanford. Mastery of writing places one in a select group. Students from small-town, small-college Georgia can join the larger cosmopolitan conversation, and more than hold their own. They will be able to shape and direct this conversation.
Writing is also an enactment of self-discovery. One must locate where she stands, particularly where she stands in relationship to others. The act of writing is our global positioning instrument. In many ways, we are nowhere until our own articulateness locates us. One is frequently in the dark until the topic, the issue, the challenge is mastered through the writing process.
Writing is the most direct path to mastering a discipline. Every advanced degree in the arts, sciences, business, and education demands written work of high quality, and a thesis or dissertation. Practitioners in these fields communicate with one another in journals and monographs, as well as through talks and papers that are given orally at professional meetings. We master our craft and then practice this craft through writing. Surely our students will master our subject in an analogous manner.
Writing can bring us together as a community of educators. The writing task links English Renaissance poetry to physical chemistry, American government to secondary education. As we work together on writing across the curriculum, we develop common expectations for our students, and in many cases, a similar vocabulary--certainly similar habits of mind--and thus we present a pedagogy that extends across the curriculum. The goal that every Berry instructor will be an instructor of writing represents the goal of a common educational purpose. This common purpose will link all that we do in our classrooms, laboratories, and studios. We will build community out of our shared roles in the Berry College writing program.