Writing Across the Curriculum at Lehigh University is committed to promoting a campus-wide culture in which writing and communication in its many forms are central to learning in all disciplines. In this culture, communication and inquiry are vitally linked, restraints on learning imposed by traditional disciplinary boundaries are eased, and students and faculty are all part of one vibrant community, seeking and sharing knowledge and understanding together.
- Writing is a vital mode of learning - promoting intellectual engagement, active learning, and critical thinking.
- When students improve as communicators, they become better not only at writing and speaking, but at reading and listening as well.
- Effective communication includes not only skills of explanation and persuasion, but also the willingness and ability to empathize and understand, collaborate, acknowledge, appreciate, and assimilate new, strange, and even opposing views.
- Writing to learn is central to the Lehigh experience.
- A successful Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program prepares students to compete in a global culture and provides opportunities to acquire the skills and motivation to positively impact the world.
- Learning to write is a life-long process. It is never mastered completely, not by anyone.
- All academic disciplines and their related professions have specific discourse conventions particular to knowledge, understanding, and communication.
- University faculty, as teachers, experienced writers, and experts in their fields, are best situated to help students acquire the skills of the particular discourse conventions of their disciplines.
- The teaching of writing can present distinct pedagogical and logistical challenges; thus, it is the responsibility of the WAC program to provide faculty with ongoing assistance and support as needed, which may include articulating educational goals, discovering how writing can contribute to these goals in ways that are intellectually and professionally meaningful and appropriate within their own disciplines.
- WAC is transformative and does not necessarily call for addition so much as it invites modification of teaching practices.
- Partnership and collaboration are fundamental, as WAC shares many goals with the faculty, other branches of Library and Technology Services, and other programs and initiatives of the university at large.
- WAC involves faculty development, is connected in vital ways to the curriculum and other matters of university policy, and is affected substantially by practices, policies, and decisions that transpire beyond the domain of Library and Technology Services.
- WAC must actively seek guidance from across of the Lehigh community in proposing such changes and initiatives that are in the best interests of Lehigh students.
Because we believe Writing Across the Curriculum includes writing at the graduate level, we have incorporated two new programs for graduate students.
The Graduate Student Research Series (GSRS) is a blog series that is run by graduate students for graduate students. The GSRS board of current graduate students seeks to highlight high-quality, peer-reviewed research conducted in all disciplines and written by the graduate students themselves. We ask that each piece is written in a way that is accessible for any educated, interested, non-expert to understand.
GSRS aims to foster strong communication and a collaboration culture at Lehigh. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The NSF GRFP Working Group is a peer support group that offers workshops, peer reviews, and accountability for Lehigh University students applying for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This group begins meeting at the end of each spring semester and continues to meet until the fall October submission deadline.
If you are interested in learning more about this group, please reach out to Dr. Yvonne Lee at email@example.com.
The TRAC Fellows program is a central aspect of Writing Across the Curriculum at Lehigh University. TRAC Fellows are high-achieving undergraduate students who believe in the impact peer learning can have on the university experience. In their conferences with other students, fellows empower writers by encouraging them to incorporate their own voice into their writing. TRAC Fellows typically conference with 12-15 students on 2-3 assignments per semester while primarily focusing on the writing processes and clear and effective communication. It is a tight-knit, academically diverse community consisting of students from all four colleges that award undergraduate degrees. TRAC Fellows support each other and build relationships that extend beyond their work in the program.
We look forward to working with you.
Nominate Undergraduate Students for the TRAC Program
The TRAC Fellows Program owes much of its success to the helpful support of Lehigh faculty. Each spring semester, we recruit a new class of Fellows, and you can help us grow by nominating your best student-writers to become TRAC Fellows.
Who are your students who have shown special abilities in writing, oral communication, leadership, organization, and reliability? Please consider nominating them for the TRAC Writing Fellows Program during the spring recruiting season!
Questions? Contact Dr. Yvonne Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-758-4932.
The TRAC Fellows Program was launched in the fall of 2008 as an initiative of Library and Technology Services to advance writing and communication instruction in courses across the curriculum at Lehigh. In the first semester of the 2008-09 pilot year, 15 TRAC Writing Fellows worked with 10 members of the faculty from across all three undergraduate colleges. The successful pilot program paved the way for substantial growth in just a few years. As of the fall 2023 semester, the program boasts a roster of 77 TRAC Fellows serving approximately 1,200 students in courses across the disciplines in all four undergraduate colleges. Since its inception, the program has served over 120 faculty and instructors, and approximately 9,000 students.
Based on the tried-and-true notion that collaboration among peers is one of our most effective methods of learning, the TRAC Writing Fellows Program at Lehigh University is committed to promoting a campus-wide culture in which writing and communication in its many forms are central to learning. In this culture, communication and inquiry are vitally linked, restraints on learning imposed by traditional disciplinary boundaries are eased, and students and faculty are all part of one vibrant intellectual community.
Who We Are
The TRAC Fellows are talented student writers from all undergraduate colleges who are nominated by faculty and selected through a highly competitive application process to work as peer tutors in courses across the disciplines. Trained in a rigorous 4-credit seminar course, the fellows assist students with all phases of the writing process, consult with faculty on assignment design, and help with library and database research and the use of educational technologies.
What We Do
TRAC Fellows serve as peer tutors who hold individual and small-group draft conferences, read and respond with written feedback to drafts of student works-in-progress, assist students conducting research, and act as resources for students using instructional technologies. Each fellow works with no more than 15-17 students. Large classes therefore require more than one fellow. Fellows do not grade student papers, nor do they play any other role in determining grades. Fellows consult with faculty on the use of new instructional technologies, assignment design, and effective use of write-to-learn activities.
The Fellows training course explores fundamental theories and practice of pedagogy in three areas:
- writing and communication;
- library and database research; and
- use of instructional technology.
After an intensive study of current literature in the field of composition and rhetoric, students learn practical, hands-on approaches to the teaching of writing with special emphases on assignment design, peer conferences, and effective feedback. Emphasizing interdisciplinary collaboration, the course invites experts from across the university to teach topics such as strategies for guiding peers in library and database research, including the location, evaluation, proper use and citation of research materials, the introductory use of instructional technology, and working effectively with faculty. Fellows also receive ongoing training through regular meetings and workshops.
Benefits for Students
By creating productive partnerships between highly trained student peer tutors and faculty in the disciplines, the TRAC Fellows Program helps students
- improve the quality of their writing;
- develop their research skills;
- cultivate the habit of using writing and other forms of communication as modes of learning; and
- expand their use of new educational technologies.
In practice, the TRAC Fellows will help students with all aspects of their writing, including: generating ideas, thoughtfulness, cogency, focus, organization, structure, coherence, transitions, style, mechanical correctness, mastery of discipline-specific discourse conventions, and understanding various rhetorical situations and objectives. Working with the Fellows, students will practice habits that lead to mastery of writing and communication skills and strategies that are important in college as well as in their specific disciplines and careers after graduation.
Benefits for Faculty
A direct result of the TRAC Fellows program will be improvement in the quality of student writing. Faculty who value good writing will enjoy reading better student work without having to devote precious time to the teaching of writing. In the TRAC Fellows, faculty will also have a valuable resource for helping students with assignments that require library and database research. TRAC Fellows will also be trained in assisting faculty with integrating “write-to-learn” activities that enhance student engagement with course content. Additionally, fellows work with LTS instructional technologists to provide assistance in making the best and most appropriate use of new educational technologies. Ultimately, faculty will benefit from interaction with students in their courses who are increasingly engaged, knowledgeable, and communicative.
Benefits for the University
With the help of TRAC Fellows in their courses across the disciplines, students will improve not only at writing and speaking, but at reading and listening as well. They will learn course content effectively—more deeply and more broadly—and in ways that are engaged and connected to their lives.
Students will learn that effective communication includes not only skills of explanation and persuasion, but also the willingness and ability to empathize and understand, to collaborate, to acknowledge, appreciate and assimilate new, strange, and even opposing views.
With the TRAC Fellows contributing to a successful Writing Across the Curriculum program, Lehigh will prepare students to compete in a global culture while they also acquire the skills and motivation they will need to make the world a better place.
Benefits of Working with TRAC Fellows
A direct result of the TRAC Fellows Program will be improvement in the quality of student writing.
Faculty who value good writing will enjoy reading better student work without having to devote precious time to the teaching of writing. In the TRAC Fellows Program, faculty will also have a valuable resource for helping students with assignments that require library and database research.
TRAC Fellows are also trained in assisting faculty with integrating “write-to-learn” activities that enhance student engagement with course content. Additionally, the fellows will work together with LTS instructional technologists to provide assistance in making the best and most appropriate use of new educational technologies.
Ultimately, faculty will benefit from interaction with students in their courses who are increasingly engaged, knowledgeable, and communicative.
To facilitate a robust revision process, faculty who work with TRAC Fellows must agree to require submission of working drafts of all assignments to be TRACed to the TRAC Fellow two weeks in advance of due dates. This time will allow the fellows to provide students with written feedback on their drafts and to hold individual conferences to help students produce their best work and improve as writers.
How to Request TRAC Fellows for your Courses
Requests for TRAC Fellows for fall courses must be submitted by April 15th and for spring courses by November 15th. Requests can be submitted by reaching out to the Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, Dr. Yvonne Lee, via email at email@example.com or via phone at ext. 84932.
What can the TRAC Writing Fellows do for you?
The TRAC Fellows can help with all aspects of your writing, including:
- generating ideas,
- thoughtful treatment of content,
- claims and support,
- style, and
- mechanical correctness.
They provide this support in two ways:
- By offering written commentary on working drafts of your writing assignments, helping you to see your own work from a fresh perspective and stimulate ideas about revision
- Through individual draft conferences, providing an opportunity for sustained, focused, and detailed conversation about your writing.
Also, though the TRAC Writing Fellows' main area of expertise is writing and the writing process, they are also trained as helpful resources in library and database research and the use of instructional technology.
What will the TRAC Fellows not do for you?
TRAC Fellows do not:
- Grade your assignments or speculate about grades your professor might award;
- “fix” or edit your writing; or
- do anything at all that interferes with peer-to-peer collaboration and your engagement in the revision process.
What are your responsibilities when working with TRAC Fellows?
Your professor has chosen to work with the TRAC Fellows Program because writing is an important part of your course. This arrangement, made for your benefit, constitutes a commitment to the program and, therefore, working with the TRAC Fellows is a course requirement.
Accordingly, your responsibilities are:
- to follow carefully the professor’s instruction regarding writing;
- to make certain that working drafts are submitted to the TRAC Fellows when they are due;
- to read the TRAC Fellows’ written feedback on your drafts carefully and take it into consideration in your revision process;
- to sign up for draft conferences and make sure to come to conferences prepared and on time;
- to bring the draft with the TRAC Fellow’s feedback to the conference and
- to attend the conference come with specific plans and questions, ready to engage in a focused and detailed discussion about your writing.
What happens at a conference with a TRAC Fellow?
The conference is your opportunity to formulate a plan for revising your draft in preparation for final submission to your professor for grading. During the conference, the TRAC Fellow may question—and even challenge—specific aspects of your writing in order to stimulate your thinking and generate productive dialogue. The TRAC Fellow will be helpful, but it is your responsibility to make the most of the conference and do your best to leave the session with a clear plan for revision.
What if you’re already a good writer who doesn’t need “extra help”?
The simple truth is that all Lehigh students can benefit from working with TRAC Fellows. Because writing is a mode of learning that is never mastered, and because professional success depends to a great extent upon lifelong development of discipline-specific sets of writing skills, everyone can benefit from the process of getting feedback and engaging in dialogue about their writing with smart and helpful readers.
How to Apply
The TRAC Fellows Program is open to all undergraduate students from all academic majors who have at least one year remaining at Lehigh.
- Visit the online TRAC Application form
- Read the instructions and supply all requested information
- Upload a single document with (1) a personal statement / letter of interest and (2) two writing samples from work completed at Lehigh
- Supply two peer references and two Lehigh faculty references*
- Review and submit your completed online TRAC Application form
- Download your unofficial transcript from Banner and upload as a PDF through the application form
All application materials (including the transcript) are accepted in the spring semester and must be received by April 4th.
Partial applications will not be eligible for consideration.
*NOTE: Applicants who have been nominated by Lehigh faculty or current TRAC Fellows are exempt from supplying peer and faculty reference requirements. All other applicants must supply two peer and two faculty references.
You may direct any questions you may have to Dr. Yvonne Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Open to all undergraduate students with at least one year remaining at Lehigh.
- Strong record of academic achievement. (3.2 GPA is recommended)
- Exceptional skills in writing, reading, interpersonal communication, leadership, and time management.
What Being a Fellow Entails
TRAC Fellows serve as peer writing tutors who read and respond with written feedback to drafts of student work-in-progress, hold individual and small-group draft conferences, and act as resources for students conducting research and using instructional technologies. Each Fellow works with no more than 15-17 students. Large classes therefore require more than one fellow.
Fellows do not grade student papers, nor do they play any other role in determining grades. Fellows consult with faculty on the use of new instructional technologies, assignment design, and effective use of writing-to-learn activities.
All new Fellows enroll in TRAC 100—The TRAC Fellows Seminar as a requirement of accepting a fellowship. This 4-credit seminar explores fundamental theories and practice of pedagogy in three areas: (1) writing and communication; (2) library and database research; and (3) use of instructional technology.
Fellows also must hold consultations with their assigned students, attend regularly scheduled staff meetings and workshops, and participate in program assessment activities.
Rewards of Being a Fellow
There are many rewards for entering this select and talented group of students. The experience of collaborating as peer tutors in partnership with university faculty develops skills in writing, teaching, collaboration, communication, interpersonal relations, and leadership.
Additionally, working closely with professors, both within and outside their own disciplines, provides a rare opportunity for fellows to broaden their academic experience and reinforce disciplinary knowledge and skills.
TRAC Fellows are paid a monthly stipend on a semester basis.
If you're interested in applying but want to know more, attend one of our information sessions. There you can learn more about the TRAC Fellows Program from the Writing Across the Curriculum director, Dr. Yvonne Lee, and hear from current TRAC Fellows about their work and experiences in the program.
There are two opportunities each March to attend an information session. The Spring 2024 schedule is TBD, semester is:
If you plan on attending an information session, please register here.