Seminar In Writing and Rhetoric


Learning Objectives

In each Seminar in Writing and Rhetoric, students encounter the two central aspects of the humanistic tradition of rhetorical education: argumentation and effective oral and written expression. Students in these seminars develop the intellectual habits and language capabilities to construct persuasive arguments and to write and speak effectively, and with integrity, for academic and civic purposes.


  1. Through their introduction to argumentation, these seminars address:
    1. the value of pro/con reasoning and the need to approach a controversy from multiple perspectives;
    2. issues and questions that organize a particular controversy;
    3. standard argument forms and other persuasive strategies (for example, traditional and contemporary models of reasoning, narrative); and
    4. methods of evaluating arguments (including evidence evaluation and identification of logical fallacies).
  2. Through their introduction to effective expression, these seminars address:
    1. important elements and conventions of standard written English;
    2. the range of lexical and stylistic resources available to speakers and writers (for example, appropriateness, audience, tone, voice, and other aspects of a message's verbal texture); and
    3. various oral and written composition strategies, including approaching composition as a process (including purposeful drafting, revising, and editing).
  3. These seminars address respect for the intellectual work and ideas of others by acknowledging the use of information sources in communicating one's own work. Methods for addressing academic integrity are built in to seminar assignments.
  4. These seminars may be organized around topics, themes, or texts; in each seminar the material must be appropriate and accessible for meaningful work by first-year students.