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Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

Institute for Writing and Rhetoric


2. Composition and Research: I

09F: 11, 12 10F: Arrange

The course description is given under Writing 3. This course and Writing 3 are open only to first-year students invited after an on-line placement process to participate in the Integrated Academic Support program. Normally, students enrolled in Writing 2 will continue with Writing 3, but in rare cases may instead take Writing 5. Boone, Chaney, Gocsik, Lenhart, Moody, and Sargent.

3. Composition and Research: II

10W: 11, 12 11W: Arrange

This two-term course in first-year composition works on the assumption that excellence in writing arises from serious intellectual engagement. To achieve this excellence, Writing 2-3 enrolls students into intensive, seminar-style classes in which literary and other works (including the students’ own) are read closely, with attention to substance, structure, and style. The primary goal of Writing 2 is for students to learn to write clearly and with authority. By submitting themselves to the rigorous process of writing, discussing, and rewriting their papers, students come to identify and then to master the essential properties of the academic argument.

In Writing 3, students engage in the more sustained discourse of the research paper. These papers are not restricted to literary criticism but might employ the research protocol of other academic disciplines. Throughout the reading, writing, and research processes, students meet regularly with their teaching assistants and professors, who provide them with individualized assistance. Writing 2-3 is taken in lieu of Writing 5 and meets the college requirement for composition.

Students who take the Writing 2-3 sequence defer their First-Year Seminar until the spring term. These courses do not serve in partial satisfaction of the Distributive Requirement. Boone, Chaney, Gocsik, Lenhart, Moody, and Sargent.

5. Expository Writing

09F, 10W, 10F, 11W: 9, 9L, 10, 10A, 11, 12, 2, 2A

Founded upon the principle that thinking, reading, and writing are interdependent activities, Writing 5 is a writing-intensive course that uses texts from various disciplines to afford students the opportunity to develop and hone their skills in expository argument. Instruction focuses on strategies for reading and analysis and on all stages of the writing process. Students actively participate in discussion of both the assigned readings and the writing produced in and by the class.

Note: Writing 5 (or 2-3) is required of all first-year students except those exempted for proficiency. It never serves in partial satisfaction of the Distributive Requirement. The staff.

8. Writing with Media

10S: Arrange

New media calls for new rhetorical practices. This course introduces students to the principles and practices of writing with media, offering instruction in how to read and to write multi-media compositions. Assignments include creating visual arguments; “re-mediating” texts to the Web and/or to PowerPoint; envisioning quantitative information; and composing a video documentary. Students will also produce written analyses of multimedia compositions in order to demonstrate their visual literacy.

Prerequisite: Writing 5 or its equivalent (Writing 2-3 or exemption from the Writing 5 requirement). Dist: ART. Gocsik.

9. Composition: Theory and Practice (Identical to English 9)

11S: Arrange.

This course explores the complex relationship between writing and knowledge as it is theorized and practiced, focusing on the important pedagogical shifts in Composition and Rhetoric over the last fifty years. Special topics may include how writing is taught (and knowledge constructed) within the disciplines; the intersections of rhetoric, power, and culture; debates concerning collaborative learning and intellectual property; the challenges of multimedia composition; conversations between composition and critical theory.

This course is strongly recommended for those pursuing Secondary Teaching Certification through the Education Department’s Teacher Education Program. This course does not carry major credit. Dist: ART. Gocsik.

41. Writing and Speaking Public Policy (Identical to, and described under, Public Policy 41)

Not offered in 2009-2010

42. The Art of Science Writing

10W: Arrange.

This course is designed to introduce students to the art of effective science writing. Students will learn to interpret and analyze complex scientific research findings and translate them into engaging prose with special attention given to the intended audience. The main focus of the course will be on learning to write about science for scientists. Students will learn how to craft scientific research articles; they will learn to write effective abstracts, introductions, methods, results and discussions. Students will also learn how to create effective visual representations of their data.

In the second portion of the course, students will focus on science writing for the non-scientific audience. Students will learn how to accurately communicate their scientific findings and the findings of other scientists to the general public in the format of review articles and newspaper or magazine features.

Prerequisite: Writing 5 or the equivalent, and permission of the instructor is required. Dist: ART. Steven.

43. The Written Judicial Opinion

10S: Arrange.

This course studies the structure, content, format, and organization of the written legal opinion, along with an introduction to judicial procedure and process. Students will analyze several historically and socially significant United States Supreme Court opinions in order to understand how and why they constitute “the law.” Additional readings will contextualize the assigned written opinions. Other topics include how judges write their legal opinions, which factors judges consider when they write judicial opinions, and how the political and social norms and trends affect and influence judicial opinions. Students will learn the technical skills of judicial opinion writing and comprehend the structure and purpose of the American judicial system. This class is recommended for those interested in writing, law, and the American judicial system, and is especially appropriate for those students considering a career in law. Dist: SOC. Sargent.

80. Independent Research

All terms. Arrange

A tutorial course focused on an independent research project to be designed by the student with the assistance of a member of the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric faculty, who will serve as the project’s supervisor. Appropriate foci include topics associated with rhetoric, writing studies, composition, speech, communication, digital or multi-media composition.

A student wishing to enroll in Writing 80 must submit a proposal and plan of study, approved by the supervising faculty member, to Christiane Donahue, Director of the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, during the term prior to taking the course.


20. Public Speaking

09F: 2A 10W: 2A, 10A 10S: 2A

This course covers the theory and practice of public speaking. Building on ancient rhetorical canons while recognizing unique challenges of contemporary public speaking, the course guides students through topic selection, organization, language, and delivery. Working independently and with peer groups, students will be actively involved in every step of the process of public speaking preparation and execution. Assignments include formal speeches (e.g. to inform, to persuade, and to pay tribute), brief extemporaneous speeches, speech analyses, and evaluations.

Limited enrollment. No prior speaking experience is necessary. Dist: ART. Compton, Homchick.

24. Argumentation in Speech and Writing

09F: 3B

Argument is something that is part of our everyday lives as citizens. The course requires students to learn about argumentation both conceptually and practically. Students study the components of arguments, including claims, evidence, reasoning, and fallacies and learn how to apply course concepts to critique others’ arguments and compose their own written and oral arguments. Students learn about the elements of argumentation in policy debate.

Limited enrollment. No prior speaking experience is necessary. Dist: ART. Homchick.

25. Persuasive Public Speaking

10W: 10A

This course explores persuasive public speaking and helps students learn to craft messages of influence. Approaching persuasive public speaking as transactional, students will engage in audience analysis during speech invention, organization, language choices, and delivery. Assignments include formal speeches (to convince and to actuate), brief extemporaneous speeches, speech and argument analyses, and peer speech evaluations. Peer group work will facilitate speech preparation and provide a forum to audition arguments and ideas.

Limited enrollment. No prior speaking experience is necessary. Dist: ART. Compton.

28. Environmental Rhetoric

10W: 2A

Students examine selected environmental issues from the perspective of rhetorical studies. Course materials focus on the different forums and modes of environmental rhetoric and how audiences respond to such attempts at persuasion. Students develop their abilities to think, write and speak critically about the relationship between rhetoric and the environment.

Limited enrollment. No prior speaking experience is necessary. Dist: ART. Homchick.

30. Speechwriting

10S: 10A

This course explores speechwriting as a process. Students will work independently and in peer groups to write speeches for themselves and for others. Students will also deliver speeches. Throughout the course, students will compare speechwriting with other types of writing, celebrating the unique challenges of writing for the ear.

Limited enrollment. No prior speaking experience is necessary. Dist: ART. Compton.