The advanced writing courses build on the Freshman Writing Requirement and other writing courses at the university in a sophisticated fashion. They reinforce and extend key reading and writing skills, such as the ability to find meaningful patterns in texts and the ability to write essays that refine ideas through encounters with evidence (facts) and with the ideas of others. These courses also take students through a meaningful exploration of a wide variety of essay writing genres, sources of material, and organizational approaches. As such, they help students achieve greater mastery of voice and control in expression and greater understanding of the rhetorical demands of each occasion for writing.
Exposition is an intentional commitment by the writer to an idea
Including related expository writing courses, such as “Writing the Natural World” (309) and “Exploring Cultural Identity in Writing” (314). (Not included are creative-non fiction courses, see Creative Writing)
Each expository class stresses significant close reading and analysis of a variety of essays by professional authors for the purpose of better understanding the strategies and writerly choices that can be inferred from the construction of the essay and from an awareness of context. However personal or local the original impulse of the students’ own essays, emphasis is on clear expression of ideas and viewpoints meant to engage, challenge, and persuade readers. Imitation, drafting, peer review, revision, and self-reflexive commentary are among the process steps explored on the way to developing finished essays.
Argument is an intellectual self-assertion designed to secure the consideration and respect of one’s peers
We live in an environment where individuals of good minds differ strongly on the best way forward, collectively seeking the truth and a best solution for all stakeholders. Success in this environment calls for reflective thinking, audience awareness, and strategic presentation. This course stresses the strategies of Argumentation, focusing in particular on four central elements: the enthymeme as a rhetorical and logical structure; the three classical appeals of logos, pathos, and ethos; Toulmin’s system of analyzing arguments; and finally claim type strategies. In addition, the course pauses to note the advantages and disadvantages of informal fallacies as specific strategies of appeal and/or ways of understanding the flaws in others’ arguments.
Key to these courses is a purposefully directed expansion of the student’s knowledge of the techniques and the rhetorical tools writers use to create dynamic relationships with their readers. With these tools, students can analyze the writing of others more thoroughly and effectively as well as achieve more sophisticated and assured prose of their own. For example, greater awareness of the types of sentences and rhetorical schemes will help student writers create emphasis in their own essays; discovering the value of tropes and expository modes will help students organize and present their ideas clearly and effectively; an understanding how genre and the conventions of academic disciplines structure appeals to specific audiences will help students meet and shape the expectations of their readers.
The complement of Full-time and Senior Lecturers who teach the Freshman and Advanced Writing Requirement courses draw on richly diverse backgrounds and considerable publishing and teaching experience to lead the programs. For more information about this faculty, see the short academic biographies here.