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Building Better Bridges: What Makes High School-College WAC Collaborations Work?

By: Jacob Blumner, Pamela Childers
Publication: The WAC Journal
Date: July 17, 2012

Summary: As high school teachers work with college professors to better prepare students for writing across the curriculum, ensuring the success of these unions becomes a key issue. Following a workshop examining past and present partnerships and studying responses from participants, Jacob Blumner and Pamela Childers report what makes successful collaborations and how they can be replicated.



To better prepare students for writing across the curriculum in higher education, some high school teachers and college professors have formed partnerships. The idea is that a cross-pollination of ideas from the teachers, who know the students best, and the professors, who know the expectations and forms of college writing best, could greatly benefit students, teachers, and professors.

Success with such partnerships has so far been mixed. Some programs have flourished and continue to be successful, while others have failed to work and sustain. Why do some programs fail and others succeed? What in successful partnerships might be replicated by others?

To explore these questions, we led a half-day preconference workshop at the 2010 Writing Across the Curriculum Conference at Indiana University. This workshop reflected on past and present high school-college partnerships through writing centers and WAC programs, then challenged participants to design plans for collaborations that would last into the future.

After the workshop, participants emailed us final drafts of their plans, which we shared with all who attended the workshop, and we asked for updates almost one year later. We also conducted a small survey to discover other partnerships around the country and how they work. This article examines workshop and survey responses to highlight successful and sustained collaborations that might be replicated by others.

Copyright © 2011 Plymouth State University. Reprinted with permission.
Blumner, Jacob and Pamela Childers. 2011. "Building Better Bridges: What Makes High School-College WAC Collaborations Work?" The WAC Journal 22: 91–101.

Read more articles from this issue of The WAC Journal.

About the Authors
Jacob Blumner is director of the Marian E. Wright Writing Center and associate professor of English at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Pamela Childers consults with secondary schools on WAC and writing centers and serves as executive editor of The Clearing House. She is Caldwell Chair of Composition Emerita of The McCallie School, where she directed the writing center and WAC program.

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