Craig Ford, professor at St. Norbert College, teaches a course. background

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)

Writing is integral to the liberal arts curriculum at St. Norbert College. To write is to think, to learn, to discover, to create, to express. To write is to participate in the world — locally and globally. The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program at St. Norbert College seeks to support student engagement with learning through writing, to increase student writing proficiency, and to create and sustain a campus culture that supports writing.

Students at SNC are asked to take at least one Writing Intensive (WI) course before the end of their second year on campus as a requirement for our Core Curriculum. You can read a detailed description of what to expect in WI courses on our Curriculum and Requirements page.

St. Norbert College's WAC program is grounded in the following beliefs:

  • Writing requires rhetorical knowledge: It encompasses a variety of written forms and genres and an awareness of diverse purposes, contexts, and audiences.
  • Writing is a complex and recursive process: It involves invention, drafting, revision, editing, proofreading, and polishing.
  • Writing is a mode of learning: It makes thinking visible and allows learners to reflect on their ideas, employing critical thinking through thoughtful analysis.
  • Writing is situated and sustained: It is most effectively taught in content-specific disciplinary courses and should be supported throughout students’ entire tenure on campus.
  • Writing necessitates a knowledge of conventions to support expectations between writer and reader: It includes attention to grammar, mechanics, spelling, attribution of sources (citations), voice, and tone.

Writing is essential to learning in the classroom and to communicating in the world at large. As such, students must have the opportunity to engage in authentic writing situations across their entire time at St. Norbert College; this goal is accomplished through students’ engagement with writing in Core Curriculum and Writing Intensive (WI) courses. What follows are general recommendations for best practices to support student writing.

Students’ more formal, revised written assignments should reflect the writing process. Their final products should follow standard academic writing conventions, including attention to the following:

  • Higher order concerns (HOCs): the “big picture” elements such as thesis, claim, controlling idea, or focus; attention to audience, purpose, and genre expectations; organization; and development of ideas
  • Lower order concerns (LOCs): the more “sentence level” elements such as sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, word choice, transitions, spelling, and style

Instructors have the right not to accept written work that fails to meet the above writing conventions.

Students who need further support refining their writing should be encouraged to see their instructor for help, use various college writing guides (e.g., the OWL at Purdue), and use the various support services at St. Norbert, especially The Writing Center.

A note on plagiarism: All students must abide by the Academic Honor Code, which defines the obligations students and instructors have toward the academic community. Students are also responsible for understanding the parameters of the writing criteria defined by each course and instructor. See the SNC Plagiarism LibGuide for more information.

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The Writing Center

The SNC Writing Center, located in the Mulva Library, is a tutorial writing center available to all St. Norbert College students at no charge. Student writing consultants from across the disciplines, trained in the techniques of one-to-one tutoring, can help students at every stage of the writing process: discovering ideas, developing ideas and thesis statements, organizing, revising, and editing.

Tutors can also work with students systematically on personal writing needs: paragraphing, sentence structure, style, grammar, mechanics, and usage. Note: The Writing Center tutors do not proofread essays. Drop-in and appointment hours are available; you may book an appointment online as well.