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 2019-20 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 Design Process 2
ILLU-1002 Illustrative Concepts I
INDS-1001 ID1: Everyday Things
MAAD-1003 Methods of Material Practice
DIGF-1002 Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration
VISA-1001 Critical Frameworks for Art History
Second Year

CRCP-2001 Contemporary Issues: CRCP
CROS-2002: Contemporary Issues: CROS
DRPT-2009 Contemporary Issues: DRPT
INTM-2010 Contemporary Issues: INTM
PHOT-2005 Contemporary Issues: PHOT
SCIN-2006 Contemporary Issues: SCIN

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 Textiles: Surface Design 1

DIGF-2015 Atelier II: Collaboration
INVC-2003 Language and the Land
VISA-2002 History of Modern Art

Third Year

CRCP-3004 Art Writing: Practice & Idea
LIFE-3001 Life Studies Studio III
CROS-3010 Publications: Editorial
DRPT-3022 Independent Studio Strategies
INTM-3012 Media Research Projects
PHOT-3006 Intermediate Development
PRNT-3003 Text & Image
SCIN-3003 Positions and Practices I

ADVR-3006 Advertising Research
ENVR-3002 Research Methodologies for ED
GRPH-3011 Graphic Design 4
ILLU-3006 Illustration 4
INDS-3010 Compelling Experience Design
MAAD-3003 MAAD Thesis 1
DIGF-3002 Synthesis: Thesis Proposal
VISA-3022 Historiographies of Art
Fourth Year

CRCP-4901 Thesis: Research
CRCP-4002 Pro Seminar: Cultural Agents
LIFE-4901 Life Studies Capstone I
CROS-4004 Publication Capstone I
DRPT-4013 Advanced Studio
DRPT-4901 Thesis: Studio Research
EXAN-4901 Expanded Animation Capstone
INTM-4008 Managing Production
INTM-4901 Thesis: Studio Research
 Directed Studio/Seminar
Thesis: Research
PRNT-4901 Thesis: Research
SCIN-4901 Thesis: Research

ADVR-4013 Advertising Workshop 1
ENVR-4901 ED Thesis 1
GRPH-4015 Graphic Design Workshop 1
INDS-4006 ID Major Design  Project 1
MAAD-4901 MAAD Thesis 2

INVC-4901 Interdisciplinary Studies Thesis 1
DIGF-4901 Thesis Project I
VISA-4901 Honours Seminar: Thesis Research

For more information about the WAC course stream, contact Emilie Brancato, ELL Specialist at ebrancato@ocadu.ca.

Writing Across the Curriculum Student Publication

The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Student Publication, a joint initiative between the Writing Across the Curriculum Initiative and the Writing & Learning Centre (WLC). Students have the opportunity to learn how to develop a collective vision for a publication and to see it through to a final publication through collaborating with faculty advisors from Art, Design and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The goal of the WAC Student Publication is to support the development of writing for art and design education, and to foster and support English language learning by providing a platform for OCAD U students to publish diverse forms of critical and creative writing and enact linguistic agency inclusive of a range of student abilities, year levels and disciplines. This publication will allow students to showcase how writing can be used iteratively in the creation of written and visual art, art history, design and curatorial work. The editorial board is responsible for directing the collaborative focus of the publication. This student-led publication fosters a culture of writing at OCAD U, which aligns with the Academic Plan and its focus on inclusivity and transforming the student experience.

Editorial Board

WAC Student Fellow: Donya Aref

LAS Faculty Advisor: Catherine Black Design

Faculty Advisor: Saskia van Kampen

Art Faculty Advisor: Shannon Gerard

Martyn Anstice (Graphic Design)

Student editors

Editor-in-chief: Victoria Girard, Fourth-year Visual and Critical Studies

Managing Editor: Joel Lee, Third-year Publications

Associate Editor: Kelly Anne Besmonte, Third-year Drawing and Painting

Associate Editor: Francis Tomkins, Third-year Publications

Associate Editor: Francisco Uy, Second-year Advertising                      


Call for Submissions for Nest

Nest, a Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) initiative, is issuing a call for submissions for its inaugural issue “In·land."

Nest is a platform for OCAD U students to publish diverse forms of critical and creative writing. We welcome works which express linguistic diversity and are inclusive of a range of student abilities, year levels, and disciplines. We accept submissions in any language.

In·land is to move inwards;caught between the stability of being grounded and longing to be near water.the creation and disruption of borders.seeing more cement than soil, but knowing that soil is underneath.the conversation between land and language.It is within earth, body, and language. Inland is within.

The call is extended to any form of unpublished or self-published creative writing in any language including:

Experimental and creative non-fiction


Short fiction

Prose and poetry

Excerpts of graphic novels

Transcripts of podcasts

Sketchbook and journal pages

Critical essays and other writing you have done for a class

Other forms of writing and creative work will be accepted. If you are unsure about submissions, please do not hesitate to contact us for clarification.

Submissions must be no longer than five standard pages, preferably fewer.Please submit documents as a .docx and images as a .tiff.

The subject line for submission should be “Submission from [your name]” and in the email you should include your major, year of study, and the name you would like to be published under.Submit work to wac@ocadu.ca.

The deadline for submissions is March 5, 2018.

If you have any questions about submissions or about the publication, please reach out to us at wac@ocadu.ca.

Check nestpublication.wordpress.com for updates.

The editorial board acknowledges the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand.

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