This article describes a tradition of Anglophone North American higher education (HE) research concerning the role of writing in learning and development. The research tradition is associated with a forty-year-old education reform movement called Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) or Writing in the Disciplines (WID). The movement encourages teachers in different disciplines to become interested in their students’ writing and to improve their writing and their disciplinary education (formation) through writing. The research on WAC/WID uses methods familiar in educational research (and to a lesser extent applied linguistics) to understand the roles writing plays in disciplinary work and disciplinary formation, often in relation to writing in other institutions (business, government, etc.). The foregrounding of writing in WAC/WID has reveled six structural, institutional contradictions in US HE: 1) writing as transversal versus writing as specialized; 2) genre conceived as a container of content--a form/content dualism--versus genre conceived as social action; 3) writing as a means of assessing learning of content versus writing as a tool of intellectual / professional / personal development; 4) writing for a social motive of schooling (epistemic) versus a social motive of work (pragmatic); 5) the masters or doctoral thesis as a last educational hurdle versus a first professional performance; 6) and (teaching) writing for social/disciplinary reproduction versus (teaching) writing for social/disciplinary change.
Available at: http://0-works.bepress.com.library.simmons.edu/david-russell/28/