University Core Curriculum
Module I: Engaging Academic Inquiry

Academic Writing Seminar

  • The Academic Writing Seminar is a seminar-format course designed to develop English college-level academic writing skills in all students to prepare them for both academic and other forms of writing they will encounter in later classes (argumentative writing, reflective writing, etc.).

    Emphasis on:

    • fundamental writing mechanics
    • argument construction and use of evidence
    • rhetorical thinking/flexibility to address various situations, audiences, and genres.

    Each faculty member selects a theme for his or her section(s) to focus students' reading and writing work.

    Sample Sections

    Get Real! The Consumption of Reality and the Rhetoric of Watching.

    Faculty: Holly Woodson Waddell

    In this writing seminar, students will demonstrate broad critical thinking skills as they participate in the cultural debate about how reality and representation informs power.  Students will express their ideas using precise and clear academic prose in order to reflect on the way reality is marketed in the media.  Students will communicate using argumentation as they analyze the historical and philosophical precedents for the current international obsession with reality TV.  Students will position themselves in different writing contexts so that they will gain rhetorical flexibility as they interrogate the political and sociological implications of TV programs such as "Big Brother." Students will express themselves effectively as they write about a variety of texts that shape our understanding of how the fiction of "truth" in representation supports or subverts collective identity. 

    Questions of Justice/Justice in Question: Debating the Inequities of Public Education

    Faculty: Jennifer Schulz

    This writing seminar will help you develop as college-level, academic writers.  You will engage, rhetorically, with current scholarly and political debates about public education in the US to develop your abilities to participate in important discourses, understand and respond to the arguments of others, and develop and support your own positions.  As we move through the readings in this course we will also move from the classroom out into the city streets, into Seattle Public Schools in the context of Academic Service Learning, and back again in order to enter into the debates from scholarly, researched, as well as your own experiential perspectives.  Through deep inquiry and argument, this seminar facilitates the habits of critical and creative questioning and thinking to help you become a more proficient and skillful academic thinker and writer.

    Sustaining Communities: Writing for Civic Spaces

    Faculty: Tara Roth

    How do we use language to influence the attitudes, beliefs and actions of others in response to questions about social equity and environmental justice? How do we effectively balance emotional appeals with use of sound evidence to persuade an audience? In this course, you will compose thought-rich academic prose to develop and support your positions about sustaining the communities in which we live.  Through critical thinking, reading, and writing, you will practice the rhetorical skills of inquiry and argument to broaden your perspectives and become more proficient academic thinkers and writers. 

  • Learning Objectives

    This course helps students develop broad critical thinking and argumentation skills.

    This course helps students become effective writers of academic prose.

    Students will learn basic rhetorical principles of communication.

    Students will learn to become rhetorically flexible, and be able to thoughtfully adapt their writing to different contexts and contents.