Jun 15, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
Course Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Writing and Communication

Laurie Hovell McMillin, Professor of Writing and Communication and Director of the Writing Program; chair

Jan A. Cooper, John C. Reid Associate Professor of Writing and Communication
Nathan DeProspo, Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and Communication
David M. Gutherz, Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and Communication
Cortney L. Smith, Assistant Professor of Writing and Communication
Harald (Hal) T. Sundt, Senior Lecturer of Writing and Communication

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

The Department of Writing and Communication at Oberlin College empowers students to be effective and savvy communicators and careful readers and consumers of texts of all kinds. 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 between the two curricula, the Department of Writing and Communication focuses on writing for college in academic settings, engages with oral and multimodal communication, and includes a focus on journalism and issues in rhetoric; the Creative Writing Program  focuses on fiction, poetry, and other imaginative forms.

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

Explore Winter Term projects and opportunities.

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.

Majors and Minors

No major is offered in writing and communication, but students with interests in this area might consider pursuing the Journalism Integrative Concentration  in addition to the Writing and Communication Minor .


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 learn to draw on their language resources at the same time that they learn how to effectively address various audiences and situations.

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