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WEC Unit: Theatre Arts & Dance


These two distinct disciplines share one department with more than 300 undergraduate majors. Because Theatre Arts and Dance are live arts/practices that take place in specific times and spaces and present their visions in embodied, non-cognitive form, writing within both disciplines involves complex acts of translation. Theatre usually begins its artistic explorations in textual sources, while Dance is a predominantly non-textual art/practice. Theatre Arts and Dance have distinct curricula, few shared faculty, and many adjunct instructors. For these reasons, the department has elected that the two programs pursue the WEC process on parallel tracks and developed a capacious definition of writing that expresses its relationship to multiple intelligences extending beyond the verbal (corporeal intelligence, and visual or spatial literacy, for example), and that sees writing as a medium in which the creative process can be explored, extended, enriched, refined, complicated, communicated, documented, and critiqued.

Activity Highlights:
In implementing its first and second edition Writing Plans, Theatre and Dance faculty have dedicated themselves to providing consistent communication of WEC-developed writing criteria using two compact documents—one for each program. These documents now serve as resources as faculty members develop or revise writing assignments and grading criteria for various courses and to distributing writing instruction throughout its curricula.

In 2011, WEC Liaison Margaret Werry and WEC RA Stephanie Lein Walseth published an article based on the WEC program, "Articulate Bodies: Writing Instruction in a Performance-Based Curriculum," Theatre Topics 21:2 (2011), 185-198.

More recently, in implementing its third edition Writing Plan, the faculty is endeavoring to ensure that colleagues across programs feel that the list of desired writing abilities represents the broadly divergent fields in which they teach. Students and faculty are also being resurveyed about current perceptions and practice of writing and survey results will be analyzed with results from the initial 2010 survey. Finally, as a method for rebooting Dance faculty's involvement in WEC, a graduate student has been charged with collecting data that portray forms and roles of writing and writing instruction in dance courses. Observation data will be brought to faculty for analysis, interpretation, and action planning in Spring 2017.

Writing Plan

Margaret Werry

“We have seen several really promising innovations within specific sectors of the curriculum that bridge artistic practice and writing instruction, and a greater level of awareness of the importance of clarity and rigor in communicating writing expectations to students amongst a broad range of faculty.”
-Margaret Werry, WEC Liaison

Center for Writing  10 Nicholson Hall&nb=sp;   216 Pillsbury Dr. SE    Minneapolis, MN 55455    Phone: 612-625-0791   Fax: 612-626-7580