Across the Disciplines Rewriting Across the Curriculum: Writing Fellows as Agents of Change in WAC Writing Fellows as WAC Change Agents: Changing What? Changing Whom? Changing How?

Terry Zawacki, George
To be effective sites for enacting WAC change, writing fellows programs, like WAC itself, must be attuned to institutional realities, adapting goals and practices accordingly. To illustrate what being "attuned" has meant to the program she directs, the author describes five writing fellow placements, each motivated by the sometimes competing goals of securing broad-based institutional support for the university WAC mission while also addressing the diverse needs of individual faculty assigned
more » ... teach upper-division writing-intensive courses. Drawing extensively on narratives written by the fellows in these placements, she argues that the less-than-successful placements that are the focus of the article give us important insights into teachers' practices and the delivery of writing instruction across the curriculum. These insights, in turn, suggest directions for both faculty and program development. Every writing fellow placement, she concludes, even those most fraught with struggle between the teacher and the fellow over appropriate strategies for working with student writers, become part of a network for change, thereby helping to build and sustain a culture of writing at the institution. The central underlying goal of writing fellows programs is that fellows will act as change agents in writing courses across the curriculum, a vision articulated most notably by Tori Haring-Smith (1992) in her description of the goals for the program she built at Brown University, one of the first in the country. Haring-Smith's goal of changing faculty and students' attitudes towards writing is echoed in the programs described on the Writing Fellows page of the WAC Clearinghouse, most of which describe the role of the fellow (also called "mentors" or "curriculum-based peer tutors") as twofold helping students improve their writing while also assisting faculty in teaching effectively with writing. Beyond these basic similarities, the programs are remarkably diverse in size, structure, and curricular focus. This is not surprising given that programs, and likewise goals for the changes fellows will help to enact, are shaped as much by their local environments as by their pedagogical ideals. Such has been the case with WAC itself. While early WAC leaders set out with an almost missionary zeal to change faculty members' teaching-with-writing practices, change, as Barbara Walvoord (1996) notes in "The Future of WAC," always "bumps up against" other institutional realities (p. 63). Similarly, in "Translating Enthusiasm into Curricular Change," Susan McLeod (1998) begins by endorsing a view of WAC directors as "change agents," but, she asks, what kinds of change are we after? Yes, she argues, ultimately we may be "out to change the world" but, given most of academia's resistance to change, we have to be pragmatic about the goals we can accomplish and, at the same time, build relationships that will help us accomplish these goals. For McLeod, this means that, in addition to concentrating our efforts on areas where change is most likely to occur (e.g. composition, general education,