Department of Writing Studies

The mission of the Department of Writing Studies is to introduce students in all eleven schools and colleges at the University of Miami to the standards and practices of academic and professional research and writing, so they are able to develop university-level strategies for primary and secondary research, engage critically with scholarly and other texts within the academic environment, enter the wider academic conversation through their writing, and prepare to enter the professional world as literate citizens.

The department also provides grant, research, and other writing assistance to all members of the UM research community.  Moreover, we aim to further research in the discipline of Writing Studies.

In general, our courses and learning outcomes align closely with UM’s mission to “provide our students with the foundations for ethical citizenship and service to others, a respect for differences among people, and a commitment to high standards of thought and communication.”

In our courses, we work with students to develop the habits of mind, tools, and strategies for writing in college and beyond.  Writing Studies (WRS) 105, 106 and/or 107, our required first-year courses, ask students to engage with campus life and the world at large, challenging them to ask meaningful questions and seek answers through directed investigations of self and society.  In thinking, talking, and writing about complex texts, students employ progressively more sophisticated critical skills.  As they analyze data and rhetoric, formulate and defend arguments, and integrate outside sources, they participate in a conversation with their peers and instructors that leads them to an increased sense of their own ethos and ability to participate successfully in public discourse. The first year sequence familiarizes students with the standards and expectations of discourse in a variety of disciplines, including engineering, science, nursing, business and music, and helps them become effective communicators for the widest possible range of audiences.  See current first-year Writing Studies courses here.

Dedicated to providing a superior student-centered learning experience, our award-winning faculty come from a range of backgrounds.  Writing class sections are small – no more than 19 students – and sessions are dedicated to hands-on activities meant to challenge students to expand their understanding of the role of writing in the academy and in society.  Students gain a concrete understanding of their power to persuade as they carry out interviews and observations, study archival materials, explore the ways in which film and photographs influence viewers' responses, read complex essays, and evaluate websites, and then produce their own compositions in papers, Blackboard discussion rooms, websites, blogs, wikis, and other multimodal projects.

Students who desire greater ability to write in specific disciplines or fields have the opportunity to take several upper level courses. See current upper level Writing Studies courses here.

Outside the classroom, students can seek one-on-one tutoring for writing and composing projects in our program's Writing Center, which is open year-round to all members of the University community.  Here, students receive guidance on crafting their work to answer specific assignments, on revising, and on addressing any questions they have about grammar, research, and citation.  For further information, please visit the Writing Center.  Outreach programs by the Writing Center include workshops for students on topics such as avoiding plagiarism, proofreading effectively, and citing correctly.  In addition, workshops sponsored in conjunction with the Richter Library serve to familiarize faculty with current thinking about best practices regarding writing.

Our diverse Writing Studies faculty implement the latest theory and practice, and keep in touch with national trends by participating in conferences on writing, composition, rhetoric, and technology.  See some of the recent scholarship in fiction, nonfiction, pedagogy, and theory that our faculty have published here. Writing Studies faculty pursue ties across the University, endeavoring to frame our courses in light of writing expectations across the disciplines.  The Summer Writing Institute, funded by the Office of the Dean, has partnered in the past with the Writing Studies department to help faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences implement productive writing assignments in their content-based courses.