Writing in the Disciplines

Based in NYU’s Expository Writing Program, under the authority of Dean Gabrielle Starr, Writing-in-the-Disciplines supports the development of effective, intellectually engaged undergraduate writing at any level throughout the College of Arts and Science.

Any course in any CAS discipline is eligible to receive free assistance on writing issues from one of our writing consultants.  Consultants are NYU faculty members with expertise in writing pedagogy in numerous disciplines.  They carry the rank of Senior Lecturer.  They are published writers and award-winning educators.

The goal of the faculty/consultant collaboration, of course, is the improvement and enrichment of student writing in the college.  The means to this end is a close collaboration with professors on issues of writing pedagogy.  What does that mean?

Student writers respond to what professors ask for.   Moreover, and much less obviously, the performance of student writers is deeply conditioned by the way the professor has solicited the written work.  We have found that the way college professors frame the writing task actually influences the quality of the writing that students then produce.  Therefore, consultants in Writing-in-the-Disciplines work closely with professors to discover effective, gradual ways to design assignments and other prompts, a recursive process that is deeply respectful of disciplinary methods and commitments.

Professors and consultants work to develop strategies for students to write thoughtfully, with an understanding of the written text as a construct, that students can better control and have command over what they write.

The production of thoughtful student work begins farther back, in the professor’s ambitious conception of what the serious student should produce.  This product will meet expectations for correctness, of course.  The main objective is to find effective ways to push students’ thinking forward.   Successful WID collaborations help in discovering effective writing pedagogy in any given course.  But the principles of writing pedagogy, once professors take them up, easily transfer to other courses in which writing is required.

Interested CAS professors across all the disciplines are invited to contact the Director of the program for assistance now and in upcoming semesters.

Stephen Donatelli
Director, Writing-in-the-Disciplines
Clinical Associate Professor of Expository Writing