QUWAC and RWI launch 'Double Helix: A Journal of Critical Thinking and Writing'

Double Helix

Oct. 8, 2013 - Quinnipiac's Writing Across the Curriculum and the Research and Writing Institute recently launched the inaugural issue of Double Helix: A Journal of Critical Thinking and Writing.

"From its beginning in 2001, QUWAC has stood for enhancing both teaching and learning through writing in all areas of the undergraduate curriculum," said Glenda Pritchett, who serves as editor of Double Helix in addition to being an assistant professor of English and coordinator of the first-year writing program. "Double Helix not only broadens the reach of Quinnipiac's biennial conference on critical thinking and writing, it also provides a global platform for the purpose of sharing research and best practices in the use of writing to develop critical thinking skills and disciplinary expertise in higher education."

Open-access, online, and international, Double Helix is founded on the principle that writing is the essential tool for developing critical thinking skills and disciplinary expertise. The journal publishes work that focuses on critical thinking in and across the disciplines, and is particularly interested in making available work that explores and reports on connections between pedagogical theory and classroom practice.

"We are hopeful that the open access, online venue that makes research freely available to scholars, teachers, and students across the globe will serve to support a wider exchange of knowledge, as well as international and interdisciplinary collaboration," Pritchett said.

The inaugural issue of Double Helix features work related to "New Vistas: WAC/WID Intersections in the 21st Century," the theme of Quinnipiac's Fourth Biennial Conference on Critical Thinking and Writing, held Nov. 16-17, 2012. The conference program featured a diversity of presentations on writing across the curriculum/writing in the disciplines theory, classroom practice in the disciplines, first-year writing and composition studies.

"In addition to research essays, reports on classroom practice, and book reviews, Double Helix will publish The Provocateur, a section for innovative work, in both form and content, intended to upend scholarly and pedagogical assumptions," said Justin Hayes, assistant editor and instructor of English. "The Provocateur operates as a reflexive dimension to the journal by promoting inquiry into the very terms of its focus and scope."

The journal's name and logo are inspired by the work of Ann E. Berthoff, who found in Watson and Crick's discovery an essential metaphor for describing the composing process. The text featured in the image is taken from Berthoff's 1981 work, "The Making of Meaning." The connected strands of the double helix represent acts of writing at the intersection of thought and language. The Double Helix logo was designed by Nicole Misencik, a student of interactive digital design at Quinnipiac.

Double Helix is a publication of the College of Arts and Sciences, which provided early support and funding for QUWAC. The publication cycle is tied to the University's biennial conference on critical thinking and writing. On conference years, Double Helix features articles related to the event's theme and focus; on non-conference years, the journal invites guest editors to develop issues on special topics of interest to our readers.

"The journal shows that QUWAC's critical thinking and writing program has come of age," said Paul Pasquaretta, director of the University's Research and Writing Institute. "Having acquired the resources and expertise to manage and edit an international journal, QUWAC has taken another step from being a contributor to pedagogical reform initiatives to a leader of the conversation. Along with our biennial critical thinking and writing conference, the journal provides evidence of how the program has grown from a pedagogical-reform movement within the University to an international platform for innovation in teaching and learning."

The inaugural issue of Double Helix features essays on writing in the disciplines initiatives, teaching argument to preservice science teachers, teaching critical reading strategies, first year writing across the curriculum pedagogies, and collaborative teaching programs in writing and allied health. In addition to authors from Auburn University, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Bridgewater State University, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, George Mason University, University of Hartford, and Northeastern University, several Quinnipiac faculty are featured, including Pritchett, Robert Smart, chair and professor of English; Tracy Hallstead, academic specialist; and Adam Katz, assistant professor of English.

To read the inaugural issue, visit the journal site