Writing Across the Curriculum Supports Writing Awards Program

Posted: November 4, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryan Call

Eight academic departments at George Mason currently recognize their outstanding students with Excellence in Writing Awards. For the past two years, the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program has joined these efforts by coordinating the awards, contributing prize money and recognizing the students.

The WAC program matches department funding for awards up to $100 and provides full support up to $150 for any departments without such funding. The WAC Committee, a standing committee of the Faculty Senate, also sends congratulatory letters to the winners and posts their names on the web site.

Last year’s award winners and their departments were: Nathan Heminger, James Wood and Cynthia Whitten, Computer Science; Jason Jenson, Edward Moon, Frederick Poorbaugh, Ian Crafford, Vivienne Pham and Teo Keipi, Economics; Katie M. Hemphill, English; Christopher Anzalone, History; Rebecca Roberts and Yvonne Wohlafka, Music; Kristen Culp and Nicholas Walker, New Century College; Alyson Crow Underwood, Nursing and Health Science; and Mary Ataya, Karen Smith and Joyce Weishaupt, School of Management.

Terry Zawacki, director of the WAC program and the Writing Center, says, “Our intention in funding these awards – besides spotlighting our outstanding student writers – is to make the university community aware of departmental efforts in making excellence in writing a priority.”

The WAC program, established in 1977, exists to develop literacy and skillful writing throughout the university. WAC program efforts are supported by numerous writing resources, such as a Writing Center staffed by graduate English students and several highly qualified undergraduate tutors enrolled in a peer tutoring course. Other resources are a series of writing-with-research workshops cosponsored with the Center for Teaching Excellence and a WAC/Writing Center newsletter called Writing@Center.

To encourage further excellence in writing throughout the university, Zawacki would like to expand the WAC Committee’s sponsorship to include other departments. Departments interested in establishing a writing award should contact Zawacki for information; departments that already have awards set up may contact Zawacki to better coordinate award efforts.

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