The Rhetoric and Composition Program supports the college-wide
commitment to the teaching of writing. Writing is one of the primary
skills needed at Oberlin and is also necessary for almost any occupation
to which an Oberlin graduate might aspire. Beyond these practical
values, writing serves as one of the most essential tools for inquiry
in a liberal education. All Oberlin students are strongly encouraged
to pursue the goal of writing well.
Writing Requirement. The writing requirement applies to
all students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The requirement
also applies to all transfer students and double-degree students.
Students changing divisions from Conservatory to College or becoming
double-degree candidates are also subject to the requirement. The
Rhetoric and Composition Program administers the requirement.
The writing requirement is usually satisfied in either of the following
1. By a score of 710 or better on the SAT II Writing Test or by
a score of 5 on the English Language/Composition or Literature/Composition
Advanced Placement Examination;
2. By certification of proficiency in writing from two different Oberlin College
instructors who have taught the student in specially designated "writing
intensive" (WRi) or "writing certification" (WR) courses in
two different departments or programs. One of these may be a private reading
course or a Winter Term course (by approval of the Rhetoric and Composition Program
Under special circumstances students may apply to satisfy the requirement either
by submitting work done for writing intensive courses at other institutions transferred
for credit by Oberlin College OR by taking a writing proficiency examination
provided by the Rhetoric and Composition Program. Members of the Rhetoric and
Composition Program will judge whether such work merits writing certification.
Students who have unusual difficulty completing the Writing Requirement should
contact the Director of the Rhetoric and Composition Program as soon as possible
to determine the best means of satisfying the requirement.
Students are strongly urged to take at least one step toward achieving writing
proficiency as soon as possible, preferably during their first year.
Students seeking information about the Conservatory's writing requirement
should consult "Requirements for Graduation" in the Conservatory
section of this catalog.
Writing Certification Courses. Courses that bear the designation WR are those in which a substantial amount of writing (approximately 15 pages)
is required but which do not devote special attention to instruction in writing
except at the instructor's option. Instructors will evaluate papers for
writing ability and will decide, at the end of the course, whether the student
is to receive a writing proficiency credit, independent of the course grade.
To fulfill the graduation requirement, students need to earn two certification
credits from writing-certification or writing-intensive coursework in two different
Writing Intensive Courses. Courses that bear the designation WRi are
those in which substantial essay writing (approximately 15 pages) is assigned
and writing pedagogy is stressed to a significant degree. The normal expectation
is that the instructor will introduce the student to the methods of writing
papers for the discipline in which the course is offered. Several papers will
be assigned during the course; students will receive detailed evaluations of
their writing skills as well as content; some time will be devoted to the discussion
of student writing, both in class and in conferences; and a certain amount
of rewriting/revision will normally be expected. Although there is an emphasis
on writing instruction in these courses, students may only earn a certification
credit if the instructor judges their work to be proficient.
A list of criteria for evaluating writing proficiency is available from the
Rhetoric and Composition Program Director in King 139.
A passing grade in a WR or WRi course will not necessarily result in a writing
proficiency credit; certification will depend on the instructor's appraisal
of the student's writing ability.
Major. No major is offered in Rhetoric and Composition, but students
with such interests might consider majoring in English or Creative Writing.
The Individual Major is another alternative.
Minor. Students may earn a minor in Rhetoric and Composition by completing
approved programs of study. Such programs will consist of at least 15 credit
hours, including: one Rhetoric and Composition course in the 111-119 range,
one 200-level Rhetoric and Composition course, RHET 481, a course in English
language history or linguistics, and a private reading in a topic of rhetoric
and composition of the student's choosing. Interested students are advised
to consult the director.
Tutor Training. Students interested in training to be Writing Associates
(peer tutors) should consider taking RHET 481.
Seeking Writing Assistance. Members of the Rhetoric and Composition
Program will be glad to consult with students interested in working on their
writing at any level or with any faculty member seeking advice about working
with students to improve their writing.
Winter Term. Staff members will be available to sponsor Winter Term
projects in writing.
Courses for First-Year Students
The Rhetoric and Composition Program regularly offers at least
one First-Year Seminar per year. First-year students seeking a
small, writing-intensive course to orient them to the liberal arts
at Oberlin College should seriously consider taking an FYSP. The
First-Year Seminars offered by Rhetoric and Composition faculty
for 2005-2006 are listed below.
FYSP 116. Field-Based Writing: Ecology of the Vermilion River
4 hours, 2HU, 2NS, WRi
For description, please see "First-Year
Seminar Program" in
this catalog. Enrollment Limit: 14.
Ms. Cooper, Ms. Garvin
FYSP 129. Coming of Age in African Literature
4 hours, 2HU, 2SS, CD, WRi
For description, please see "First-Year
Seminar Program" in this
catalog. Enrollment Limit: 14.
Mr. Podis, Mr. Saaka
Writing Courses for First- and Second-Year Students
For first- or second-year students seeking an introduction to college writing.
These courses focus on a variety of topics, but they all offer substantial attention
to the process of writing and to critical thinking and reading. Many sections
are interdisciplinary and most employ a workshop/discussion format. Especially
recommended for first- and second-year students who do not feel prepared to take
other Writing Certification or Writing Intensive courses across the curriculum.
113. Writing for College and Beyond
3 hours, 3HU, WRi
First Semester. In the writing they do for college, students are asked to analyze and
critique arguments, conduct research, and develop fluency in a number of
forms and discourses, among other things. This writing course is designed
to immerse students in the practice of writing for college and beyond and
engages them in the practical and creative aspects of research. Enrollment
115. Entering Discourse Communities: Writing for College and Beyond
3 hours, 3HU, WRi
Second Semester. This course aims to form a writer's community that will
explore the various discourses in which class members participate.
We will approach writing as real communication among group members
rather than artificial practicing of skills. The course will include
readings on writing processes as well as essays on varied topics.
There will be weekly writing assignments and regular conferences
with the instructor to review drafts and revisions. Most classes
will be peer response workshops. Enrollment Limit: 15.
Writing Courses for Students Beyond the First Year
Rhetoric and Composition courses at the 200-level are intended
for students beyond the first year who are interested in improving
their writing skills. Issues in disciplinary discourses and composing
and revising for a range of writing tasks are emphasized through
frequent writing assignments, class discussions, and writing workshops.
First-year students may enroll in these courses only by special
consent of the instructor.
201. Writing in the Sciences
3 hours 3HU, WRi
A course designed for students interested
in developing their composing/ revising skills for writing in natural
science and mathematics disciplines or interpreting science topics
for readers of general science issues. Notes: This course is not
open to first-year students except by consent of the instructor.
P/NP or CR/NE grading. Enrollment Limit: 15.
202. Advanced English Composition
3 hours, 3HU, WRi
Second Semester. An advanced writing workshop intended for juniors and seniors
with strong writing skills interested in exploring literature's "fourth
genre," the essay. We will study the history of the essay
and recent varieties of non-fiction writing, alternately labeled
narrative non-fiction, literary journalism or creative non-fiction.
Students will have the opportunity to write on a range of topics
and experiment with different styles. Note: Closed to first-year
students. Enrollment Limit: 15.
Other Courses of Interest to Student Writers The Rhetoric and Composition Program offers the following courses for
students interested in journalistic writing or writing pedagogy.
106. Journalism Basics
1-2 hours, 1-2HU, WRi
Second Semester. First Module. This course will cover basic reporting, news and features writing, and
ethics in journalism. In addition to course writing assignments, publishing
at least two stories in an approved campus publication will be required for
one hour of credit, four stories for two hours of credit. Note: CR/NE or P/NP
grading. Open to all students. Enrollment Limit: 15 (10 for first-year students).
107. Practicum in Journalism
1-2 hours, 1-2HU
First and Second Semester. Through this course students earn academic credit working for an approved
journalistic publication on campus. The course does not meet as a class,
but students are expected to attend all required staff meetings and fulfill
the assignments made by their editors. Students can earn a maximum of four
hours credit toward graduation (a maximum of six hours credit for editors).
Notes: CR/NE or P/NP grading. Prior journalism instruction (including RHET
106) is not necessary for this course. Consent of instructor required. Enrollment
481. Teaching and Tutoring Writing Across the Disciplines
3 hours, 3HU, WRi
First and Second Semester. A course in which students will tutor at the writing center or assist one
of the writing-intensive courses offered in various disciplines while studying
composition theory and pedagogy. In the process of helping to educate others,
students work toward a fuller understanding of their own educational experiences,
particularly in writing. Juniors or seniors who write well, regardless of major,
are encouraged to apply. Identical to ENGL 399. Consent of instructor required.
Note: Students enrolling in RHET 481 or ENGL 399 should also enroll in RHET
483 Tutoring Lab. Enrollment Limit: 12.
Mr. Podis, Ms. Trubek
483. Tutoring Lab
0-1 hours, 0-1HU
First and Second Semester. Students working in the Writing Associates/Peer Tutoring Program
will meet monthly to discuss tutoring experiences, logistical issues
and occasional readings. Tutors will further develop their skills,
help to shape the program, and participate in the larger community
of Peer Writing Tutors. Required for all Peer Writing Tutors, including
those currently enrolled in RHET 481 or ENGL 399. The one-credit
hour option is for tutors who wish to implement a project to improve
resources for or awareness of the Peer Tutoring Program. Prerequisite:
Concurrent enrollment in, or prior completion of, RHET 481 or ENGL
399. Notes: Tutors may repeat this course for a maximum of four hours
toward graduation. CR/NE or P/NP grading. Consent of instructor required.
995. Private Reading
1-3 hours, 1-3HU Consent of instructor required.