Dr. Rebecca Nowacek
Department of English
Klingler College of Arts and Sciences



Most of my published research focuses on the related area of writing in the disciplines and in interdisciplinary classrooms.  My most recent publications draw on research conducted within a team-taught interdisciplinary learning community in order to provide a more precise vocabulary and theoretical framework for conceptualizing the relationship between writing and disciplinary learning in the interdisciplinary classroom. 

  • “Why is Being Interdisciplinary So Very Hard To Do?  Thoughts on the Perils and Promise of Interdisciplinary Pedagogy.”   College Composition and Communication.  In press.
  • “Toward a Theory of Interdisciplinary Connections: A Classroom Study of Talk and Text,” Research in the Teaching of English.  In press.
  • “A Discourse-Based Theory of Interdisciplinary Connections.”  JGE: The Journal of General Education.  54.3 (2005): 171-195.

I expand these arguments in my book manuscript by using the interdisciplinary classroom as a locus for examining the role of writing and disciplinary expertise in undergraduate general education more broadly, placing the work of the instructors and students in my study into larger institutional and historical contexts. 

More recently, my teaching and research have also begun to focus on fostering democratic citizenship—a focus that I frankly see as entirely congruent with the role of a writing center within a university and throughout the larger community.  My interest in citizenship first emerged while teaching an undergraduate rhetorical theory course, a course has evolved to include a “jury project” component that provides students with an opportunity to practice their skills of argumentation as well as democratic deliberation.  My interest in democratic citizenship has been nurtured by my work as a Carnegie Scholar.  Through this work, I have developed, taught, and conducted research within a multidisciplinary capstone course for students across the university.  The focus of the course is democratic citizenship in the city of Milwaukee; the major project of the course asks students to work in groups on a knotty local problem (such as low voter turnout), conducting individual research using their disciplinary expertise and then to engaging in cross-disciplinary dialogue to develop a richer understanding of their problem.  My work in this area thus draws on my work on writing and learning in the disciplines: while working on the major project students often consolidate and expand their sense of disciplinary expertise while also practicing the very important citizenship skill of negotiating understanding and consensus about difficult problems in the absence of certainty. I am currently at work on a collaboratively authored manuscript that explores the integration of education for citizenship across the curriculum.