What is Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)?

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) is a teaching approach that helps university students develop strong writing skills for both their studies and their professional life. WAC programs exist at many universities across North America.

The basic idea is that writing varies greatly from one discipline to another. Students best develop their writing skills when the writing they do is closely connected to their program of study. In a WAC program, students don't just study writing skills in writing courses. Instead, writing instruction and practice is integrated with their courses in their program.

As future artists and designers, curators and critics, writing skills will be key to communicating in your profession. Most OCAD U students, including very confident writers, find that the writing they have done in high school does not prepare them for the specific kinds of writing that are required of artists and designers.  

OCAD U's WAC Initiative will support you in practicing and strengthening university-level and professional writing skills throughout your years at OCAD U and across multiple courses. You will discover that: 

  • writing can be a powerful tool for developing your creative ideas
  • writing is a lot like making--it requires reflection, multiple stages and attempts, feedback and revision
  • writing is a valuable professional skill, e.g. enabling you to communicate successfully in grant/residency applications or creative briefs

What is a WAC Course?

At each year level of each program, one required course is designated as a Writing in the Disciplines (WAC) course.  In WAC courses, you will practice the specific kinds of writing, research, critical thinking and presentation skills that are most relevant to your program and your future professional practice.  For example, you may:

  • use free writing and mind mapping to develop a visual concept
  • learn art/design-specific vocabulary to use in critique
  • keep a sketchbook/journal documenting your explorations and sources of inspiration

For the 2017-18 academic year, the WAC-designated courses for are:

First Year Art Design FOLAS/SIS
GART-1040 Drawing Across Disciplines ADVR-1001 Advertising Intro 1
ENVR-1002 Environmental Design 2
GDES-1016 Communication Design 2
ILLU-1002 Illustrative Concepts I
INDS-1001 The Design of Everyday Things
MAAD-1003 Methods of Material Practice
DGIF-1002 Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration
VISA-1001 Critical Frameworks for Art History
Second Year
CRCP-2001 Contemporary Issues: Art Today
DRPT-2009 Contemporary Issues: Art Today
INTM-2010 Contemporary Issues: Art Today
LIFE-2002 Life Studies Studio 2
PHOT-2005 Contemporary Issues: Art Today
PRNT-2015 Contemporary Issues: Art Today
SCIN-2006 Contemporary Issues: Art Today
ADVR-2001 Advertising Concept 1
ENVR-2006 Research Studio: Social Space
GRPH-2007 Graphic Design 2
ILLU-2007 Illustration 2
INDS-2003 ID 2: Identity Materialized
MAAD-2003 Jewellery: Casting
MAAD-2009 Fibre: Surface Design 1
CROS-2002 Contemporary Issues: CROS

DIGF-2005 Atelier II: Collaboration
INVC-2001 Language and the Land
VISA-2002 History of Modern Art
VISD-2001 History of Modern Design

Third Year
CRCP-3004 Art Writing: A Workshop In Practice and Ideas
CROS-3010 Publications: Editorial
DRPT-3022 Intermediate Painting Studio
INTM-3012 Media Research Projects
PHOT-3006 Intermediate Photo I: Development
PRNT-3007 Intermediate Printmaking Studio
SCIN-3003 Intermedia Studio: Problems in Visual Language 1
ADVR-3006 Advertising Research
ENVR-3002 Research Methodologies for ED
GRPH-3011 Graphic Design 4
GDES-3075 Book Illustration
GDES-3069 Graphic Novel Illustration
INDS-3008 ID 5: Systems Thinking
MAAD-3003 MAAD Thesis 1
VISA-3015 Critical Issues & Ideas in Contemp. First Nations Art
DIGF-3004 Synthesis: Thesis Proposal
VISA-3022 Methods in Visual or Critical Studies
Fourth Year, Implemented in 2018-19
CRCP-4901 Thesis: Research
CRCP-4002 Pro Seminar in Crit. & Curating
LIFE-4901 Life Studies Capstone I
CROS-4004 Capstone: Research
DRPT-4901 Studio Thesis: Research
DRPT-4013 Advanced Studio
DRPT-4016; DRPT-4019Capstone Project
INTM-4011; INTM-4012 DPXA Capstone Project
INTM-4901 Studio Thesis: Research
INTM-4008 Managing Production
PHOT-4901 Studio Thesis: Research
PHOT-4004 Directed Studio/Seminar
PRNT-4901 Studio Thesis Research
SCIN-4901 Studio Thesis: Research
ADVR-4901 Advertising Workshop 1
ENVR-4901 ED Thesis 1
GRPH-4015 Graphic Design Workshop 1
ILLU-4901 Illustration 5: Thesis
INDS-4006 Meta Project 1
MAAD-4901 MAAD Thesis 2
INVC-4901 Thesis Part 1
DIGF-4901 Thesis Project I

For more information about the WAC course stream, contact Pariss Garramone, Writing Across the Curriculum Specialist at pgarramone@ocadu.ca.

Writing Across the Curriculum Student Publication

Call for Editorial Team Members

The WAC student publication will provide a venue for students to publish critical and creative writing inclusive of a range of student abilities, year levels and disciplines, as well as work that showcases how writing can be used iteratively in the creation of written and visual art, art history, design and curatorial work. 

We are interested in writing in the sketchbook; journaling and sketchbook work; reviews of artist talks and gallery visits; short review essays; poetry; zines; transcripts of podcasts/digital storytelling; excerpts from a graphic novel and many other forms of writing as making.
This publication offers linguistic and culturally diverse students a venue for showcasing their work with writing to learn and learning to write.

Students who are interested in writing and publishing are encouraged to join in us and together, we will work hard to develop the first issue of this student-led publication. Are you:

  • A student in good standing at OCAD University for the 2017-18 year.
  • A student with a strong interest in writing, and the process of review, editing and organizing a publication.
  • Able to commit to meeting once per week throughout the Fall and Winter terms, approximately 5-7 hours /week.

The responsibility of the editorial board is to collaboratively direct the focus of the WAC student publication. 

To apply, please send the following to the WAC Specialist (pgarramone@ocadu.ca) no later than Friday, October 6.

  1. Provide a one paragraph summary of why you are interested in working on the WAC publication. 
  2. Provide a list of days and times that you are available for the fall and winter terms.