All first-year students at SPU take a two-course writing sequence, WRI 1000 & 1100.
The first, Academic Writing and Inquiry Seminar, focuses on academic writing, writing that is defined by its reliance upon inquiry. In Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts, Joseph Harris speaks to another characteristic of academic writing, that it “is bound up inextricably with the books we are reading, the movies we are watching, the music we are listening to, and the ideas of the people we are talking with.” He continues, claiming that our work “has its roots in the work of others–in response, reuse, and rewriting.” This conversation happens not only in the texts students read and write, but also in the classroom. So Writing 1000 is taught as a seminar, with 20 students coming together, devoting sustained attention and care to writerly problems, at the end of the course each student able to say something they could not have said on their own, this conversation vital to the work of the academy.
The second, Disciplinary Writing and Research Seminar, is taught by faculty across campus. To succeed in the course, students will need to apply the writing skills they learned in 1000 to various disciplinary contexts. That is, they’ll work in the various genres that define academic writing: lab reports, method analyses, proposals, resumes, spec sheets, research papers, poster projects, etc. WRI 1100 teaches a wide variety of writing. Yet, because all sections of the course are grounded in the same outcomes and standards, the course is consistent enough that a student taking a section from Economics will still be well served if she chooses to major in Biology. All faculty teaching WRI 1100 work closely with SPU’s disciplinary librarians; integrating the library into the course is one of the hallmarks of our Writing Program.