By Vicki Tolar Burton, WIC Director

Faculty colleagues, I’d like to crowd-source an idea, and you folks are my crowd. I’m working on a project on Ethics and Writing Across the Curriculum for a collection edited by two leading scholars in the area of ethics and writing.  I would like to interpret ethics broadly and represent ethical writing and teaching in many disciplines in the article. I know, for example, that the WIC course in Animal Science at OSU is focused on ethics in the field; and I know that in the Physics WIC course students consider the ethics of scientific research. How does the topic of ethics pertain to your WIC course or another course in the major? How does it appear in your syllabus? How do students learn that their words carry ethical responsibility? What does that responsibility look like in your field? Are there hard and fast rules for right and wrong in oral and written communication, or are ethical decisions contextual? What unethical uses of writing might you caution students about?  There are folks, some outside the university and some inside, who think that teaching students to write in their discipline is itself unethical  because it promotes submission to authority— “working for the man.”  I would be grateful for any thoughts you have—even brief, random ones—on the ethics of writing/teaching writing in your field. I’d love to hear from you by email:

In this issue, our featured interview, “On Writing in the Fine Arts,” focuses on WIC professor Lee Ann Garrison, who is also Director of the School of Arts and Communication.  The author of this article is Julia Malye, a graduate student from France, who is in the OSU MFA program in fiction. Julia has already published three books in France. Read this article to learn how OSU students are learning to write in genres used by artists.

Scientist and best-selling science fiction writer David Brin’s visit to OSU inspired the WIC team to explore how Brin’s ideas might play out across the OSU curriculum. Check out Claire Roth’s interview with professors Ray Malewitz (English) and Bill Smart (MIME), “David Brin: From Sci Fi to Science/Humanities Collaborations.”

During the fall faculty seminar, there was some conversation about the kinds of writing faculty do beyond their academic world, so we surveyed WIC seminar alumni on that question.  We were amazed at the variety of writing genres with which faculty engage. To learn more, read Claire Roth’s article, “WIC Faculty Survey: Writing Beyond Academia.”  As this survey suggests, we really are building a culture of writing at OSU.  There is still time to contribute to the survey—all faculty are welcome!

I also want to express my thanks to the sixteen faculty who participated in the fall WIC Faculty Seminar. Learn more about the seminar in “Fall 2016 Seminar Faculty Recognized.”

Finally, coming winter term, at the request of WIC faculty, is a workshop where faculty can come together to get and give feedback on their writing assignments.  The date is Tuesday, January 24, 3:15-5 pm, in Milam 215. If you are not a WIC seminar alum but would like to be on our events list, please email Claire Roth:

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