Undergraduate Studies in Composition and Rhetoric

Bucky reading on Bascom Hill
Photo by: Jeff Miller

The Composition & Rhetoric Program has long been a critical part of the University’s writing curriculum and requirements. We are proud to offer two writing programs, run by faculty members and staffed by graduate students in the English Department.

In addition, undergraduate courses in writing and rhetoric are regularly offered by faculty. These include

  • English 204, Studies in Writing, Rhetoric, and Literacy
  • English 304, Composition and Rhetoric In and Beyond the University
  • English 400, Advanced Composition
  • English 403, Seminar on Tutoring Writing Across the Curriculum (for Writing Fellows, only)
  • English 500, Writing in Workplaces
  • English 501, Writing Internship
  • English 505, Topics in Composition and Rhetoric (Spring 2015 Topic: Visual Rhetoric and the University)

English 100 Program

Director: Morris Young
Associate Director: Sara Kelm

English 100 is an introduction to college composition. The course prepares students for the demands of writing in the university while providing an occasion to think about writing beyond the classroom and in a variety of contexts.

By placing attention on rhetorical awareness in both written and oral communication, students engage questions of audience, purpose, genre, discourse conventions, and research methods. Because writing is both an act of inquiry and communication, this course offers students an opportunity to identify, develop, and express concepts, to engage in conversations with the ideas of others, and to critique and construct arguments through original research. Treating writing as a process, instructors emphasize drafting, revising, and editing as critical practices in developing effective communication and argument.

English 201 Program

Director: Caroline Gottschalk Druschke
Assistant Director: Nathan Wood

English 201 is a 3-credit, intermediate level, general education writing course that satisfies the university’s Communications B requirement for enhancing students’ literacy skills. Enrollment in English 201 assumes that a student has successfully completed or been exempted from the “Communication A” requirement.

English 201 is a low-enrollment course that depends on student participation, so each section is capped at 19 students. It is designed to develop skills in the four modes of literacy: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This course places special attention on writing, requiring numerous assignments of multiple pages, each developed through extensive planning, drafting, revising, and editing. Most classes employ a workshop approach, meaning that students work in peer writing groups, reading and commenting on one another’s work in constructive ways that are taught to students early in the semester.

This course is couched at an intermediate skill level: it has more experienced students and more challenging assignments, typically involving sophisticated readings, complex writing tasks, and very high expectations for student inquiry. Each section of the course treats a single issue, problem, or theme (or set of issues, problems, or themes) in depth, giving students the opportunity not just to work on general processes of reading and writing but to be initiated into the complex discursive practices of a particular literate community struggling with particular intellectual, cultural, and practical problems. Consequently, despite their common satisfaction of Comm-B criteria, English 201 sections vary widely from teacher to teacher.