Small discussion session with Dr. Walvoord during the fourth Biennial Critical Thinking and Writing Conference at Quinnipiac University in 2012.

Biennial Conference

Biennial Critical Thinking and Writing Conference
Thinking and Writing Beyond Two Cultures: STEM, WAC/WID and the Changing Academy

Fifth Biennial International Conference at Quinnipiac University
Hamden, Conn.
Friday–Saturday, Nov. 21–22, 2014

View the conference program (PDF).

In 2008, The Times Literary Supplement included the publication of C. P. Snow's 1959 Rede Lecture, "The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution," on its list of the 100 books that have most influenced Western public discourse since the Second World War. Although Snow's lecture prompted a dustup between scientists and literary elites over who could lay claim to the superior form of knowledge, over time the sides and tenor of the "Two Cultures Debate" have changed. As the debate has expanded throughout the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences to include various disciplinary groups and the beliefs, attitudes, and perspectives with which they are bound together as "cultures," it has evolved into a conversation about how knowledge is recognized, valued and taught across the cultures of the university.

The 2014 biennial conference aims to advance this conversation through presentations that attend to the unfolding legacy of the Two Cultures Debate as well as those that revisit and challenge Snow's original formulation.

Friday Evening Conversation

Vaughan Turekian
   Vaughan Turekian

Vaughan Turekian, chief international officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and director of AAAS's Center for Science Diplomacy
"Science Diplomacy: Critical Thinking and Writing Across the Academy and the World"

Turekian is the chief international officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In this role, he leads, develops and coordinates the broad range of AAAS's international activities. He is also the director of AAAS's Center for Science Diplomacy and editor-in-chief of Science & Diplomacy, a quarterly publication from the Center. Both the Center and the publication aim to bring together stakeholders from the scientific and foreign policy communities to identify better ways to apply science cooperation to building relationships between and among nations.

On Friday evening, Turekian will discuss the work of the Center, which takes place in countries where diplomats do not or cannot normally go-Cuba, North Korea, Burma, Syria-to address problems in foreign policy by engaging partners in a process to develop a shared understanding of science issues and the language that defines them. Building upon this concept of science diplomacy, the conversation will explore how academics from across the disciplines and with widely divergent views understand "science," as well as other common terms and practices, such as "research," "diplomacy," and "critical thinking."  This exchange is intended to elicit attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives in order to consider how they might interact with the disciplines to form cultures, and to reflect on how the various cultures of the university can meet continuously shifting global challenges.

Saturday Morning Keynote

Kathleen Blake Yancey
 Kathleen Blake Yancey

Kathleen Blake Yancey, Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University
"Concepts and Practices in Flux: Critical Thinking and Writing Across the Disciplinary Cultures of the Academy"

Blake Yancey is editor of College Composition and Communication and co-director of the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research. She is also an elected leader of many scholarly organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of English, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and the Council of Writing Program Administrators. She has focused much of her research on writing across the curriculum and writing assessment, especially portfolios, authoring or co-authoring more than 70 articles and book chapters and authoring, editing, or co-editing eleven scholarly books, including Portfolios in the Writing Classroom, Reflection in the Writing Classroom, Assessing Writing across the Curriculum, and Portfolios 2.0. Her co-authored work Writing across Contexts: Composition, Transfer, and Sites of Writing, a study of the role that content and reflection play in students' transfer of writing knowledge and practice from first-year composition into multiple sites of writing across the university, will be published in spring 2014. Her numerous awards include the Florida State University Award for Graduate Teaching, the WPA Best Book Award and the Donald Murray Writing Prize.

On Saturday morning, Yancey will present "Concepts and Practices in Flux: Critical Thinking and Writing Across the Disciplinary Cultures of the Academy." Much like a big city with multiple neighborhoods-each with its own practices and rituals-college is a world with multiple cultures, which we think of as disciplines, each of which has its own language, its own problems, acceptable evidence, and genres. One important task for faculty, therefore, is to help students understand how a given culture is both similar to and different from other cultures within the academy. Doing so makes the implicit features of the discipline explicit and therefore available and helpful to our students. And because each student brings with him or her unique prior knowledge and experiences, it is critical that students are asked to map-for themselves-these similarities and differences and to articulate what they mean for thinking and writing in a given discipline. Drawing from experiences of both students and teachers in various disciplines, this talk will outline how such articulation and reflection can support student learning. 

Kathleen Blake Yancey will be available on Saturday to consult with individuals and groups that wish to discuss the challenges faced by their departments and programs. To arrange a meeting, contact the conference coordinator:

The conference will be organized into three categories, each focusing on a different dimension of the debate:

  • Philosophy and politics
  • Pedagogies, programs and curricula
  • Critical thinking and writing

While scholars and teachers are invited to submit proposals that engage in or with one of these dimensions of the debate, the conference intends to promote, across categories, a multi-dimensional conversation that addresses the following questions (and perhaps others):

  • How do linkages between critical thinking and writing operate within and/or even define a "culture" of the university?
  • How do linkages between critical thinking and writing vary among cultures that exist as the major divisions of knowledge (natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences), within the major divisions of knowledge (biology, literature, criminal justice, etc.), and across the major divisions of knowledge (science journalism, sports studies, medical humanities, etc.)?
  • How are linkages between critical thinking and writing shared across the cultures of the university?
  • How might linkages between critical thinking and writing influence and/or be influenced by the shifting cultures of the university?
  • How do linkages between critical thinking and writing interface with technology in and/or across the cultures of the university?
  • How might linkages between critical thinking and writing be part of integrating high school students and their prior knowledge into the cultures of the university?
  • How might linkages between critical thinking and writing aid in transfer of learning within and/or across the cultures of the university?
  • How might linkages between critical thinking and writing in and/or across the cultures of the university prepare students for graduate and/or  professional work?

Schedule of Presentations
Saturday, Nov. 22

10:30 a.m. - Noon, Concurrent Session 1
1A 1B 1C 1D 1E
"Micro-Interdisciplinarity: Students and Educators as Disciplinary Hubs"
Tracy Hallstead (Quinnipiac University)
"Linking the Disciplines in STEM Writing Instruction"
Leslie Ann Roldan, Jane Kokernak, Jessie Stickgold-Sarah (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 
"A Is for Analysis: Engaging Critical Thinking in Science Through the Textual Practices of the Humanities"
Judith Swan, Khristina Gonzalez (Princeton University)
Priscilla Fonseca (Quinnipiac University)
"What About High School? Critical Applications of Transfer Theory in First Year Writing"
Chris Edwards (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
"Critical Thinking from Classroom to Clinic: Integrating Peer Response Workshops in Communications Disorders and Speech-Language Pathology"
Laura B. Willis, Embry Burrus, James Truman (Auburn University)
"Generative Error and the Grammar of Disciplinarity"
Adam Katz (Quinnipiac University)
"First Year Writing Course as a Cultural Bridge for Faculty"
Wendy Menefee-Libey (Harvey Mudd College)
"Measuring and Diagnosing the Rules of the Discipline: Student Readings of Eula Biss' 'Pain Scale'"
Melissa Kaplan (Quinnipiac University)
"Shrinking C.P. Snow's Great Divide: Dynamic Teaching Partnerships at the University of Hartford"
Pat Morelli (University of Hartford)

1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Concurrent Session 2
2A 2B 2C 2D
"Critical Thinking and Writing in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: How the Roots of the Liberal Arts Reframe the 'Two Cultures Debate'"
Anne. M. Dropick (Quinnipiac University)
"STEM Students and the Role of Meaningful Writing"
Ellen Geller (St. John's University), Neal Lerner (Northeastern University), Michele Eodice (University of Oklahoma)
"Writing Integration in a Health Science Program"
Marcia D. Nichols (University of Minnesota, Rochester)
"Teaching Rhetoric in Engineering Writing Through Applying Workplace Scenarios"
Mary Caulfield (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Mark Hoffman (Quinnipiac University)
"Applying Goodman's Concepts of Multiple Worlds, Categories and Symbol Systems to the Interdisciplinary Challenges of Writing Across the Curriculum"
Jennifer Mundale (University of Central Florida)
"Writing and Critical Thinking Across Two Cultures in a Health Sciences University: Notes on Curriculum Redesign to Strengthen Disciplinary Writing in Senior Biology Seminars"
Wendy K. Roberts, Michael J. Cripps (University of New England)
"Bridging the Sciences and Humanities in Nursing Education"
Jeanne LeVasseur (Quinnipiac University), Kimberly Petrovic (Southern Connecticut State University)
"Surveillance Culture and Academic Community: First Amendment Strategies in the Age of Warrant Canaries"
Casey J. Rudkin (Western Connecticut State Univ.)
"Curriculum to Cultivate Medical Students' Self-Awareness, Perspective-Taking, and Self Care"
Anna-leila Williams (Quinnipiac University)

2:45 - 4:15 p.m., Concurrent Session 3
3A 3B 3C 3D
"Critical Thinking, Identity, and the Brain: Insights from Neuropsychology"
Irene Clark (University of California, Northridge)
"Critical Thinking and Writing Across the Curriculum: Case Study of a Composition-II Research Project"
Anish Dave (Georgia Southwestern State University)
"The Value of Sociology for the Millenial Workforce: A Case Study of a Capstone Internship Course"
Stacy Missari, Lauren M. Sardi (Quinnipiac University)
"Turning Resistance into Receptiveness: Reflections from a Course for Faculty on Critical Thinking Pedagogy"
Steven J. Pearlman, David Carillo (University of Saint Joseph)
"Using Critical Thinking in Neuroscience to Teach How To Improve Thinking in Nanoscience and Philosophy"
Don Jones (University of Central Florida)
"Horizontal Knowledge Production: Collaborative Research in an Undergraduate Writing Class"
Deborah Breen, Thomas Casserly (Boston University)
"The Humanities & the Social Sciences Meet the Sciences: Dr. Watson & the Birth of Sherlock Holmes; Sherlock Holmes & the Birth of Forensic Science"
Karen Veselits (Quinnipiac University)
"Writing and Institutional Excellence Initiatives: 'Autonomy with Accountability?'"
Suzanne Hudd (Quinnipiac University)
"Techniques for Capturing Critical Thinking in the Construction and Communication of Advanced Mathematical Knowledge"
Peter Samuels (University of Birmingham, UK)
"Study of Students' Perceptions of Critical Thinking and Writing in Academia and Beyond: The Results and Further Discussion"
Tara Friedman, Patricia Dyer (Widener University)
"Plato's Wiki: The Possibility of Digital Dialectic"
Mark Noe (University of Texas, Pan American)

An afternoon roundtable discussion will follow the Conncurrent Session 3.

The cost of the conference is $300 for Friday and Saturday, and $150 for Saturday only, inclusive of meals.

For more information, contact the Research and Writing Institute coordinator:

Paul Pasquaretta
Quinnipiac University Research and Writing Institute coordinator

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