Writing Intensive Courses

In order to fulfill the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree, students must pass a course designated as writing intensive course. To see each semester's writing intensive course offerings, go the Registrar's Course Schedules, choose your desired semester/term, select "Writing Intensive Course" from the Specialized Search and search.

Composition Courses

CO 121: Writing Processes

As the title of this course suggests, the primary focus of Writing Processes is the development of effective, staged responses to all kinds of writing assignments. This semester we will explore, learn, and practice the several steps in the production of written work: invention, drafting, revising, proofing, editing, and presentation. We’ll study elements of essays, such as the thesis, focus, paragraphs, and use and documentation of sources. We will also work with some commonly employed composition schemes including narrative, definition, and comparison/contrast. As a result, you will become more aware of and able to choose appropriately the strategies best suited to a variety of college-level writing assignments, and you will become more proficient at producing quality writing under deadlines.

CO 122: Analytic and Persuasive

This writing course serves as an introduction to rhetoric—the civic art of effective communication and critical thinking. As a civic art, rhetoric is a key means of negotiating social conflict among citizens who hold sometimes radically different values and beliefs. Rhetoric trains us to do the following things we already do with greater awareness of how (and how well) we are doing them: reasoning with greater deliberation and imagination; analyzing rigorously and evaluating charitably competing claims and assumptions about ethical and other matters; reflecting earnestly on our own assumptions and commitments; empathizing more fully with others, especially in an effort to understand better not only our common ground but also our differences; and discovering and testing ways in which we might more hospitably share the world with others, if only to counter ignorance and deception and to prevent unproductive hostility and unnecessary violence.

Through careful analysis and construction of arguments, you will hone your critical thinking skills while practicing various forms of academic and public writing. Much of the course focuses on researching, analyzing, and evaluating others’ arguments; yet, you will also craft your own arguments on relevant and controversial social and ethical issues. In effect, ours is a semester-long process of inquiry, collaboration, and debate, with numerous occasions for reflection and expression, and numerous opportunities to refine your writing while adapting it for different purposes and audiences.

CO 201: Writing in the Garden

In this reflective service-learning course, the garden is our teacher and classroom. Through reading, writing, and discussion, we consider questions such as: What do we learn about the natural world, the community, and ourselves through gardening? What is service-learning? How do our readings and our work in the garden complement and/or challenge one another? What does it mean to know a garden through discourse? Through the body?

CO 200E: Writing the Environment

This course explores some of the ways, through language and imagination and experience, we make sense of the natural world. Together, we will examine the works of storytellers and scholars who, in diverse ways, “write the environment” into being, shaping their beliefs, observations, and experiences into stories and arguments and meditations—narratives of exploration and inquiry rich with insight, beauty, mystery, wonder, adventure, and controversy, about issues ranging from animal rights to outdoors exploration.

We examine a number of works (books, short stories, newspaper editorials, scientific journal articles, and non-fiction essays)—all of which we will use to raise questions about the natural world and our relationships with the environment. We will examine these texts (films included) critically—that is, closely, analytically—by interrogating what their authors say, how they say it, what they might hope to communicate and with what effects, how readers might respond and how readers might be changed. These texts will serve also as models for your own writing: forms to imitate, from their overall structures down to their sentences, words, and even punctuation.

CO 202: Writing for Social Change

A reflective service learning course, Writing for Social Change pairs students with local non-profits in the researching and writing of a grant proposal. Students also write a news bulletin and may engage in some social media work.

CO 328: Research, Writing, and Technology

This course helps students develop the ability to negotiate different digital spaces as a writer even as it challenges them to critically engage with them.

Winter Term Courses

Satire and the Art of Social Protest

This course explores how people employ language in creative and potentially humorous ways to make often intensely serious arguments about society, culture, and politics. Satire is a form of expression that seeks often to expose ignorance and injustice, sometimes by raising taboo subjects, and sometimes by pushing the boundaries of taste and decorum. Still, many believe that it’s an invaluable tool for promoting and protecting democracy, by provoking thought and even disagreement, and by keeping people honest.

Satire has a rich history, ranging from classic literary works by Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift to popular television shows like South Park and The Daily Show. Our chief goals in this course are to explore satire as a mode of civic discourse while honing your academic writing and critical thinking skills. Using a variety of mostly contemporary works, we will examine how irony, parody, sarcasm, and wit can be crafted into a powerful art of social protest. You will also create your own satires. My hope is that by studying and practicing the art of satire, we may more creatively engage in critical thinking, developing empathy for others and finding new ways to see the world around us—always good for our democracy. This course serves as a composition course; it fulfills also a Humanities area requirement.