English Professor’s Work on Association for Writing Across the Curriculum Creates Global Connections
What happened during Professor Douglas Hesse’s trip to Trondheim, Norway, earlier this year is what he calls a “fortuitous confluence.”
Hesse, who teaches at the University of Denver’s Department of English & Literary Arts, also serves as chair of the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum (AWAC).
AWAC promotes initiatives that support students’ writing across their academic careers, faculty development related to student writing and writing pedagogy, and research into writing across domains and transnationally.
What brought Hesse to Norway in February was the 2023 Writing Research Across Borders conference — a global event hosted every three years by the International Society for the Advancement of Writing Research.
A few months prior to the event, the European Association of Teachers of Academic Writing (EATAW) contacted Hesse and AWAC and expressed interest in associating the two organizations.
What resulted was the ability for members in the respective organizations to participate at member rate in the other’s events, to have panels on respective programs and foster international collaborations.
Months later the group of higher education leaders, including Hesse, met in Norway and took part in “the rare act” of physically signing the document that detailed the partnership, he said.
Djuddah A.J. Leijen from the University of Tartu in Estonia, Magnus Gustafsson from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, Christopher Anson from North Carolina State University in the U.S. and Hesse partook in the exchange.
Hesse said the opportunity provided through AWAC has allowed him to serve as an ambassador of sorts for the University of Denver and exchange ideas and research with other experts in the field.
Having global connections such as these also provides the opportunity to understand what academic life is like in other parts of the world, he said.
“When you have English as a global language and you have a ton of the world transacted through writing, knowing what's going on in cultures that — in a global world — intersect with the U.S. is pretty important,” Hesse said.