Students develop their critical reading and writing skills by completing at least one Writing-Intensive (WR) Course, preferably in the major. In fact, 67% of 2012 graduates took more than one and as many as six WR courses.
Building on the critical reading and writing goals of First-Year Seminar, professors in WR courses:
- Teach the writing process – planning, drafting, revising, and editing;
- Assign genres authentic to the discipline, like analytical essays, lab reports, case studies, term papers, among others;
- Require students to submit 4000 words (or fifteen pages) of polished writing;
- Emphasize the central role of writing in the course by allocating a substantial portion of the final grade to writing assignments;
- Usually maintain a class size of not more than sixteen students.
A distinctive feature of a WR course – one that distinguishes it from the myriad courses at Dickinson that engage students in writing -- is the focus on the writing process. An active community of scholars, Dickinson faculty understand the importance of the writing process to their own success as professional academic writers. Few scholars further their work, let alone publish it, without responding to the feedback of peer reviewers.
WR courses offer students the authentic opportunity to receive feedback from professors and peers (through class peer review sessions and/or visits to the Eberly Writing Center). In responding to the feedback, students come to experience writing as a process of discovery (re-visioning) and meaning-making that is mediated by a knowledge community.