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Information on this website is posted for historical reference only.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

10F: 11, 12 11F: 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, and Moody.

3. Composition and Research: II

11W: 11, 12 12W: 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, and Moody.

5. Expository Writing

10F, 11W, 11F, 12W: 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: Enrollment limited to 18. Writing 5 (or 2-3) is required of all first-year students except those exempted. It never serves in partial satisfaction of the Distributive Requirement. The staff.

8. Writing with Media

12S: 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)

Not offered in the period from 10F through 12S.

10. Writing In The Workplace

11S: Arrange

This course approaches professional writing as a rhetorical craft. Students will learn to analyze workplace cultures and communicate effectively within them. Course readings and activities focus on professional writing, with an emphasis on written, oral, and multimedia composition. Students will learn to create effective professional documents for a variety of purposes, and to adjust their rhetorical approaches to fit their professional goals. The course uses workplace simulations to teach professional writing in context.

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

11. Argument in Context: Theory and Practice

11S: Arrange

This course is designed to sharpen students’ ability to interpret arguments in context through close analysis of rhetorical strategies. Employing theoretical frameworks from rhetorical studies, composition theory, and literary criticism, students will analyze a variety of arguments: global and local; textual and visual. Students will further hone their critical sensibilities as they shape and re-shape their own arguments.

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

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

Not offered in the period from 10F through 11S.

42. The Art of Science Writing

12S: 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 its equivalent, and permission of the instructor is required. Dist: ART.

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

10F, 11W: 10A, 2A 11S: 10A 11F, 12W: 10A, 2A 12S: Arrange

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.

25. Persuasive Public Speaking

12W: 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.

26. Rhetoric of Science

10F: 2A

Students examine selected topics in the rhetoric of science, focusing on the importance of discourse, language and situation in the study of the natural world and the public understanding of science. Students learn about the conceptual aspects of critiquing science rhetorically and apply these concepts to develop their own work.

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

30. Speechwriting

10F, 12S: 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.

40. Resistance To Influence: Inoculation Theory-Based Persuasion

11W: 10A

This course revisits a classic theory of resistance to influence: inoculation. Inoculation theory is unique. Instead of offering ways to enhance persuasion, inoculation offers resistance to persuasion. We will trace inoculation’s development; reconsider some of its assumptions; explore its application in contexts of health, politics, and marketing; and discuss ethics of resistance-based message strategies. Writing and speaking projects will guide our consideration and analysis of this underexplored dimension of rhetoric.

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