Jun 19, 2024  
Course Catalog 2022-2023 
Course Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Writing and Communication

Laurie Hovell McMillin, Professor of Writing and Communication, Chair, Director of Writing Program
Jan Cooper, John Charles Reid Associate Professor of Writing and Communication
Cortney Smith, Assistant Professor of Writing and Communication
Hal Sundt, Senior Lecturer of Writing and Communication

Visit the department webpage for up-to-date information on department faculty, visiting lecturers and special events.

The Writing and Communication Department empowers students to be effective and savvy communicators and careful readers and consumers of texts of all kinds. Our classes stress language as a dynamic, changing, multifaceted social phenomenon that can be put to use for various purposes. Students learn to mobilize all their linguistic resources to be compelling communicators and to negotiate various rhetorical situations. In our classes, students find their voices, speaking and writing with authenticity, at the same time that they learn how to effectively address various audiences and situations. The department also supports the college’s commitment to the teaching of writing through its work with faculty and the Writing and Speaking Associates Program.

The Writing and Communication Department - like the Creative Writing Program  - explores the processes of writing and strives to create communities of thoughtful and supportive peers for this work. While there is some overlap and cross-referencing of courses on non-fiction and writing pedagogy, the Creative Writing Program  focuses on fiction, poetry, and other imaginative forms, while the Writing and Communication Department focuses on writing for college in academic settings, engages with oral and multimodal communication, and includes a focus on journalism and issues in rhetoric.

See information about Research, Internships, Study Away, and Experiential Learning (RISE).


No major is offered in Writing and Communication, but students with interests in this area might consider the Writing and Communication Minor  or the Journalism Integrative Concentration . Some courses in Writing and Communication also count towards the Education Studies Integrative Concentration . A minor in Writing and Communication complements majors in many fields.

Writing Associate Training

Students interested in the Writing and Speaking Associates Program and the teaching and tutoring of writing and speaking may apply for consent to enroll in WRCM 401 /ENGL 399 . Please consult the instructor of WRCM 401  for details.

Seeking Assistance with Writing and Communication

Members of the Writing and Communication Department are glad to consult with students interested in working on their writing or speaking at any level or with faculty members seeking advice about working with students on issues of writing, speaking or related issues.

Explore Winter Term projects and opportunities.

Majors and Minors

Writing and Communication Courses for First- and Second-Year Students

Our 100-level courses are especially aimed for first- or second-year students seeking an introduction to college writing and speaking, though all students are welcome. These 100-level courses focus on a variety of topics, but they all offer substantial attention to the process of writing and to critical thinking and reading. WRCM 101 WRCM 102 WRCM 103 , and WRCM 105  cover essentially the same skills and issues: writing processes and strategies and writing for various purposes and audiences. Students may take the 100-level courses in any order. The course numbers do not indicate a sequence; instead, they signify the different emphases and approaches adopted by various instructors. WRCM 110  gives equal weight to speaking and writing and WRCM 120  focuses on journalistic writing.

Writing and Communication Courses for Students Beyond the First Year

Our 200- and 300-level courses are intended for students beyond the first year who are interested in further developing their writing skills and their understanding of issues in communication and rhetoric. Composing and revising for a range of writing tasks are emphasized through frequent writing assignments, class discussions, and writing workshops. These courses focus on particular issues in writing and communication, including literary journalism, community reporting, the rhetoric of social protest, travel writing, language diversity, and science communication, among others.


    Writing and CommunicationWriting and Communication Practica Courses