New program focuses on writing and rhetoric

Jennifer Stark

A new interdisciplinary University program focusing on writing and rhetoric aims to provide students with marketable skills for their job searches and future careers.

The minor and concentration in Writing and Rhetoric, both of which debuted this semester, can be combined with almost any major, according to Dr. Karyn Hollis, director of the CWR.

“The concentration aims to sharpen students’ ability to construct successful communication for any area of discourse,” Hollis said.

“Through the concentration, students have a way to officially certify that they have taken the extra time and effort required to improve their writing,” Hollis said. “This will impress potential employers.” She said students who participate in the program will become adept at analyzing rhetorical situations, making sophisticated decisions and responding successfully in writing.

The CWR offers students a range of writing environments as well as real world writing experience and internships. Graduates should be able to enter the work force with communication skills well above those of other beginning professionals, according to Hollis.

The concentration is a joint effort between the English and communication departments. Courses include creative writing, desktop publishing, intercultural communications, journalism, business writing, publishing and advertising. Several courses emphasize Internet communication, digital writing and design, and creation of web pages. Students will have opportunities to present their writing in conferences and seminars and develop their writing through workshops. They will also have the opportunity to meet well-known authors, take field trips, do service learning and write for community organizations.

Catharine Gradisar, a Writing Center tutor, was the first student enrolled in the CWR. “The concentration requires you to put your skills to use,” Gradisar said. “That is what makes it unique.”

To enroll in the program, students must complete an application, submit a writing sample and demonstrate they have a 3.0 GPA or better.

Once enrolled, students must take an online self-administered WebCT exam on grammar, punctuation and style. Eight courses are required for the concentration while the minor only requires six. Students may select from 40 offered classes.

The Writing and Rhetoric Program also sponsors a speakers series. The first speaker, coming Nov. 12, will be Gerry Marzorati, editor of the New York Times Magazine. Marzorati, ’75, will work with students in the concentration and lead a discussion.