wic_newsletter_keys_600x400 A special part of Oregon State University is the Writing Intensive Curriculum program (WIC).  Vicki Tolar-Burton and her associates have supported writing as learning in all disciplines for better than two decades.  It was while taking a WIC seminar (in an earlier century) that I realized I was teaching my students to write philosophy papers modeled after professional academics.  It is typically not philosophy majors who take the lower-division Introduction and Ethics courses.  Almost all of my students were taking their first and possibly last philosophy course.  Why then was I assigning papers that were styled after the way that a professional scholar submits to a journal?  It turns out that the proper outcome of writing in such courses is the learning that it produces in the writer.  That insight changed and still informs my teaching, and my writing as well.

Recently I enjoyed a long conversation with Zach Pajak and Allen Sprague from WIC.  Alan taped and edited it into an article for the Teaching With Writing WIC Newsletter.

The dialog with Zach and Alan took me back to those delicious intellectual jam sessions with several grad students perched on old couches chasing any topic that came within reach as far as we could follow.  The optimism and sheer joy of thinking together in such moments is the precious heart of the life of the mind.  Casting caution and modesty to the winds we covered Plato, Naked Lunch, Obama’s rhetoric, chat writing, video mash-ups, conceptual relationships, bullet points, Capitalism, and departmental budget crises.  Have a read at Web Writing, Textual Mash-Ups, and Death by PowerPoint: A Conversation if only as a sign that the all-night bull session remains possible even late in one’s career; the love of thinking together does not fade.  Thanks guys!