Quarter Abroad Australia - Instructor

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Australian Internships and Writing in Sydney

Carl Whithaus, Study Abroad Faculty Photo

Carl Whithaus

Professor of Writing and Rhetoric 

Director of the University Writing Program (UWP)



Departmental Bio

Carl Whithaus is a Professor of Writing and Rhetoric and Director of the University Writing Program (UWP) at the University of California, Davis. His research areas include the impact of information technology on literacy practices, writing assessment, and writing in the sciences and engineering. His three books include Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013), Writing Across Distances and Disciplines: Research and Pedagogy in Distributed Learning(Routledge, 2008) and Teaching and Evaluating Writing in the Age of Computers and High-Stakes Testing (Erlbaum, 2005).

He has served on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Planning Committee for 2011-2019 Writing Standards Framework, the editorial board for Kairos, and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Best Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI) Committee (2007-10). He has taught courses ranging from first-year writing to graduate-level classes in traditional, hybrid, and distance learning environments.  His articles have appeared in Technical Communication QuarterlyKairosAssessing Writing, and The Journal of Basic Writing. In January 2015, he began serving as co-editor for the Journal of Writing Assessment.

His current research projects include: integrating emerging writing technologies into the language arts curriculum (k-12), examining the relationships among claims and evidence in the writing of professional biologists and environmental scientists, and exploring potential modifications to microblogs to leverage knowledge produced "swarming" content/users.

Carl earned his Ph.D. at the City University of New York (CUNY); he has taught at Stevens Institute of Technology, Old Dominion University, and the University of California, Davis.

A Message to Students and Parents

After seven years as the Director of the University Writing Program, I jumped at the chance to lead the Fall 2019 Writing and Internship Program in Sydney, Australia. I did so in part because I have heard so much from students and faculty about the opportunities to develop their writing and professional connections through this program.

I see Sydney as bringing together my interest in urban spaces, writing, and the globalization of cultures and business. Having grown up in Southeast Asia (Singapore) as well as all around the Southeast US (Florida, Texas, and Virginia), I value international experiences. They connect us—and challenge us—in ways that no other experiences do.

I also have a soft spot for the urban, for cities. I spent the 1990s in New York City working in publishing and going to graduate school. Davis, as a city, is not New York. It has its charms, but living in Sydney offers an international, cosmopolitan experience that you just can’t get in a small town. It’s a chance that a writer cannot pass up.

While coaching at a soccer tournament at Pacifica this last May, I imagined that when I looked out across the incoming waves I could see around the curve of the horizon. Sydney was right there. I saw Bondi Beach and the skyscape of Sydney with its iconic Opera House, but also I knew the space needle-esque Sydney Tower and the traditional skyscraper Chifley Tower were there, looking back. Sydney is not just an imagined world; it is a place to live, to work, and to write. It’s near Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and Oceania. It is deeply international and cosmopolitan. The idea of spending a quarter there teaching and writing sits just right.