Writing Across the Curriculum Program

Writing and thinking have gone hand in hand almost since the invention of written documents.  

It's true that Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, whose thoughts were articulated only in conversations that he never wrote down, famously dismissed the still new practice of writing as a kind of intellectual gimmick, an artificial way to remember ideas without holding them in your head.

Pretty much since then, however, most people have seen writing and thinking as intimately connected, especially if they spend much time doing either seriously.  Writing is a way not simply to recall ideas, but to discover, refine, and extend them.  For most people, serious, careful, reflective thinking isn't possible without some form of writing. 

This is especially true in academia, where participants at all levels are continually called to write, whether it’s exams, course papers, journal articles, books, notes, or blogs.  Academics, especially, learn and think through writing.

WAC at SUNY Oswego

The Writing Across the Curriculum Program at SUNY Oswego was established in 1998 by a group of faculty members committed to ensuring that students in every major on campus write frequently, thoughtfully, and effectively in their courses.

The WAC Guidelines created by that group and endorsed by the Faculty Assembly require that students in all majors take at least five writing-intensive courses beyond ENG 102 during their undergraduate careers, including disciplinarily focused seminars at the introductory and advanced levels.

This unusually comprehensive five-course requirement, perhaps unique nationally, signals SUNY Oswego's commitment to writing as the center of intellectual work. 


The Writing Across the Curriculum Program’s mission is to support the faculty teaching those courses with opportunities to reflect on the use of writing in their courses, to facilitate regular departmental review of Writing Plans within majors, and to help develop the general culture of writing on campus.