About CWAC

CWAC pedagogy is founded upon collaboration, readerly dialogue, and service-learning. We use post-outlining as our primary revision strategy.

CWACagaelabration 2016 group photo


Mission Statement

At the Center for Writing Across the Curriculum (CWAC), we offer guidance and resources to enhance writing eloquence throughout Saint Mary's College of California. Pursuing the construction and expression of knowledge through shared inquiry, we are guided by the Burkean Parlor model of collaborative dialogue. Inspired by the Lasallian tradition of service through education, we nurture writers in a safe and productive space, welcoming to all, and we actively work against discrimination and silencing. We advise peer students through 1-1 sessions, small-group Writing Circles, and collaborative workshops for diverse disciplines. We award and publish excellent student art and writing. We offer faculty development workshops to guide the sharing of ideas among peers who are teaching Writing in the Disciplines or Collegiate Seminar courses, helping professors mentor students to use writing to learn disciplinary content. By supporting faculty and students, we help all writers enter more fully into scholarly dialogue, sharpening their skills, building their confidence, and connecting writing strategies across contexts.   

Civic Engagement

We help others while learning about their disciplines, we grow as writers alongside our peers, and we continually reflect on issues impacting our Saint Mary’s community.

Readerly Dialogue

Advisers ask open-ended questions, responding as readers, in order to guide writers to deeply explore what they are learning and what they are trying to communicate. 


Everyone brings knowledge to the table – the writer brings disciplinary expertise, and the adviser brings writing strategies. Advisers guide writers to read aloud and post-outline their drafts – to highlight main ideas or specific features, in order to compare what’s on the page with what the writer is trying to accomplish. Advisers also guide writers to diagnose and revise for grammar and style.


Inclusive dialogue is a non-negotiable imperative. To that end, we affirm these “Principles of Community,” by Virginia Tech University:

  1. We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person and strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understanding.
  2. We affirm the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely. We encourage open expression within a climate of civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect.
  3. We affirm the value of human diversity because it enriches our lives and the University. We acknowledge and respect our differences while affirming our common humanity.
  4. We reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status.
  5. We take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination and for increasing our own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others.

We are aware that collaboration, multiple viewpoints, and empathic listening are hallmarks of effective dialogue. Everyone is a leader, with the right and the obligation to steer discussion in a productive direction.