Last week, I attended and presented at the 2012 International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference in Savannah, Georgia. I have many thoughts about the conference itself and about the presentation I gave with my colleague, Sheryl Bone, and my sister, the Director of First Year Composition at Georgia Southern University.
For now, I have to share a thought I had – and tweeted from @teachertkelly – about driving in the city of Savannah. I promise that this thought relates to WAC. If you’ve never been to Savannah, put it on your bucket list. The city dates back to 1732, was spared the ravages of the Civil War, and has a rich cultural and culinary history. It is also a prime example of what can happen when post-secondary institutions and the communities they serve come together for the common good. Many of the buildings in the historic district are owned by and have been diligently restored to their past splendor by the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Savannah is a planned city, meaning it is mapped out around squares. This also means a large variety of one-way streets that were never designed to handle large SUVs let alone delivery trucks. I love Savannah. My parents lived there until right before I was born, and my grandmother lived there for almost thirty years, but I hate the process of driving through and around the city.
So, what is the relationship to WAC? As we bring writing into more and more parts of the curriculum and continue to advocate for WAC, we will encounter students who love the product of a well-written paper or project, but hate the process of getting there.
I gave up after a day of trying to navigate the city in the dark and the rain. I started using public transportation, one of the tools at my disposal. Having been to Savannah, I knew about their shuttle system and free alternatives to the garish tour trolleys.
Our students have tools, too – especially the KUWC. Part of WAC is getting those that need the tools to toole. Once they use them, they are much more likely to come back and to become more confident in their writing. At the very least, knowing there are alternatives for them will relieve some frustrations.
Even before I came back to Composition for a term or so, I actively advocated using the KUWC in my classes. I posted a copy of the recorded tour and touted the features in seminar. In the interest of fairness, I do the same for the Kaplan University Math Center.
This is something I encourage all of you to do. Actively engage your students with what is happening in the KUWC. They will thank you as much as I thanked the shuttle driver who got me to my presentation on time with my having to so much as look at a one way street.