Biennial Conference - Past Conferences

Fourth International Writing and Critical Thinking Conference: New Vistas: WAC/WID Intersections in the 21st Century
Held Nov. 16 and 17, 2012
Mount Carmel Campus
The College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac University
Hamden, Conn.

More than 130 academic professionals from 15 U.S. states and two foreign countries attended. The 4th biennial conference on critical thinking and writing was hosted by QUWAC and the College of Arts and Sciences.

The conference opened on Friday afternoon with a meeting of NEWACC (Northeast Writing Across the Curriculum Consortium). On Friday evening, the Carl Hansen Student Center was transformed into a gallery for artist and sculptor Khanlar Gasimov, who presented three original works of art, along with photographs and video, as part of the welcoming reception. Gasimov later discussed his work at a Research and Writing Institute-led workshop on Writing and the Visual Contact Zone.

Saturday morning began with a keynote address from WAC and WID pioneer Barbara E. Walvoord. Her talk, "How to Assess and Improve Student Writing in Classrooms, Departments, and Institutions," offered a practical and re-search-based approach to improving writing on campus. PowerPoint slides of her presentation are available on the Writing in the Disciplines page of QUWAC's WAC/WID Database.

The conference featured 27 presentations from more than 60 faculty professionals. Quinnipiac panelists included Robert L. Engle (international business), Tracy Hallstead (the learning center), Justin Hayes (first-year writing), Mark E. Hoffman (computer science), Suzanne Hudd (sociology), Glenda Pritchett (first-year writing), and Lauren Sardi (sociology). 

View the 2012 conference program.
View photos from the 2012 conference.


Third International Writing and Critical Thinking Conference: Crossing the Great Divide: Critical Thinking and Writing in the Majors

Held Nov. 19-20, 2010
Rocky Top Student Center, York Hill Campus at Quinnipiac University
The College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac University
Hamden, Conn.

This conference investigated the linkages between critical thinking, usually associated with general education, and thinking within the majors--the disciplinary thinking students must master before they graduate.

We are calling this movement from general education to study within the major "crossing the great divide" because students often find that what they are asked to master in their major differs in focus and complexity from the critical thinking pedagogies that most general education curricula require of undergraduates.

Our guest speaker was Sally Mitchell, coordinator of the Thinking Writing Program at Queen Mary, University of London. Drawing on data from her ongoing research, Mitchell considered the usefulness of highly general terms such as "argument" and "critical thinking" for students attempting to enter disciplinary conversations.

View the 2010 conference program


Second International Writing and Critical Thinking Conference

Held November 21-22, 2008
Mount Carmel Campus
The College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac University
Hamden, Conn.

The conference investigated the connections between the implicit cross-curricular focus of critical thinking and the more explicit cross-curricular focus of writing across the curriculum ad writing across the disciplines.

While writing has long been considered an essential method through which critical thought processes are developed, common indices of critical thinking make almost no mention of writing. Conference participants explored the dynamic possibilities of teaching, learning and assessing our practices of writing and thinking across a continuum.

The guest speaker, Jonathan Monroe of Cornell University, addressed the connections between writing and critical thinking in his keynote presentation, "Is Critical Thinking a Liberal Art? Writing in the Disciplines and Contemporary Poetry in (as) 'Higher Education.'"

There were three different themes for defining proposals and organizing presentations:

  • Redefining the Continuum Between Writing and Thinking
  • (Re)Possessing the Continuum: Thinking & Writing in the Disciplines
  • (Re)Addressing the Continuum: Thinking/Writing Iterations

First International Conference on Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Held November 17-18, 2006
Mount Carmel Campus
The College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac University
Hamden, Conn.

Quinnipiac University's First International Conference on Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines invited proposals from all disciplines, and especially from inter-curricular and cross-disciplinary teams, which highlighted the integration of Critical Thinking Research with the best practices of teaching writing and rhetoric across the disciplines.

The major presumption of this conference doubled as a provocation: if WAC/WID is to continue to promote writing as a critical tool for learning in the face of faculty indifference or resistance, and if the Critical-Thinking Movement's goal of having students form well-founded judgments according to objective evaluative standards across disciplines is to avoid reduction into taxonomic pieties and content-area segregation, then faculty members across the disciplines need to help one another build new bridges between inter-curricular writing and critical thinking.

John Bean, author of the widely used Engaging Ideas, was the keynote speaker. He presented his most recent research assessing the critical-thinking skills of graduating seniors, and drew connections between critical thinking, argumentative writing and rhetoric across the disciplines.

There were three different themes for defining proposals and organizing presentations:

  • Starting Out: Writing to learn as critical thinking
  • Getting Somewhere: Critical-thinking research and writing to communicate
  • Going Beyond: New directions in critical thinking across the disciplines

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