The Writing Program

Writing Program Faculty Profiles

Writing is central to academic life at Wellesley and will continue to play an important role in most students’ lives after they graduate, whether they choose majors in the sciences, the social sciences, or the humanities. The starting point for writing at Wellesley is the First-Year Writing requirement. All students are required to fulfill the First-Year Writing requirement by taking an introductory course in expository writing during their first year at Wellesley. Courses fulfilling this requirement, numbered WRIT 101 to WRIT 198, make up the majority of the course offerings in the Writing Program. These courses are taught by faculty from many departments as well as by a team of writing professionals; all First-Year Writing faculty view writing as an important part of their own professional lives and are committed to helping Wellesley students learn to use writing as a powerful tool of thought and expression, a way to gain entrance to public discourse.

All First-Year Writing courses have the primary goal of helping students establish a useful writing process, from developing ideas through revision. All sections provide instruction in analysis and interpretation, in argument and the use of evidence, in the development of voice, and in the conventions of academic writing, including writing from sources. Students may choose to take a standard First-Year Writing course (meeting two periods a week and addressing a small, well-defined topic related to the instructor’s expertise), or to study writing as part of an introductory course in another department. (These "combined courses" have departmental course numbers in their titles, for example WRIT 105 - ENG 120, and include the courses numbered between WRIT 101 and WRIT 118; all carry one unit of credit, fulfill distribution and/or major requirements, and meet for at least three periods each week.)

Beginning in 2015-16, the Writing Program will offer two full-year experiences combining writing and first-year seminars. Students electing this option must complete both courses (WRIT 101 and WRIT 102 or WRIT 103 and WRIT 104) in order to fulfill the First-Year Writing requirement.

In addition to these "combined" courses, the Writing Program also offers courses designed to provide extra support and intensive preparation for making the transition to the demands of writing at the college level. For 2015-16, students enrolled in the Wellesley Plus Program will enroll in WRIT 121 or WRIT 164 in spring. In fall, we offer WRIT 121 and WRIT 122 for students who speak English as an additional language; whose high school education included limited opportunities for writing; who received scores of less than 600 on the Writing or Critical Reading sections of the SAT; or who find writing especially challenging or lack confidence as writers. Placement into these sections takes place during summer pre-registration, and interested students should contact the Writing Program director.

Students who wish to pursue the study of writing beyond the introductory course may select WRIT 199 or WRIT 199H (full- or half-unit tutorial for students who need more help with writing), WRIT 291 (writing from archives), WRIT 307 (grant writing), WRIT 390 (Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing), or independent study in writing (WRIT 250 for a full-unit or WRIT 250H for a half-unit of credit) with a member of the Writing Program staff. Students should also be aware that many courses at Wellesley are taught writing intensively, offering the opportunity to study writing as part of their disciplinary study. Students wishing to pursue course work in creative writing should consult the English department course listings.

Beginning in 2014-15, all first-year writing courses in both spring and fall will be covered by the college's new shadow grading policy.  This means that no student will have a letter grade for her first-year writing course recorded on her transcript, whether she takes her writing course in fall or in spring.  In most writing courses, faculty members will give students letter grades during the semester and on their semester grade reports.  In others, no letter grades will be given at any point.  These courses are designated with "No letter grades given" in the course description.

PLEASE NOTE: Students may not take a second First-Year Writing course (WRIT 101 to WRIT 198) unless they have the written consent of the director of the Writing Program.

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