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Our Vision, Mission and Values

Vision

The Department of Writing strives to become a model of excellence among writing programs by providing a distinctive curriculum, innovative and challenging instruction, and a distinguished faculty committed to the enterprises of teaching and writing.

Mission

Deeply rooted in the liberal arts and committed to diversity and social justice, the Department of Writing fosters clear expression, intellectual growth, and creative and critical thinking through active, student-centered writing instruction at all levels. In first-year academic writing, a required competency in the Integrative Core Curriculum, we provide students in all disciplines the foundation to think and to write critically. Our minor allows majors in departments across campus to develop their interests and talents in writing. Our major, distinctive for the breadth and depth of its curriculum, combines theory and practice, encourages aesthetic appreciation of writing in all its forms, challenges traditional notions of genre, and promotes student writing that is creative, self-reflective, critically astute, and socially conscious. Our collaborative community of faculty supports each other’s teaching and writing and promotes the value of writing to the college community and beyond.

Values

We, the faculty of the department of writing, are united in three values: our commitment to writing studies; our dedication to diversity and social justice; and our capacity to imagine, through writing, solutions to the complex personal, political, and environmental issues we face in our global society.

We recognize that members of our community have been historically marginalized for their group or individual identities. We are committed to supporting individuals from underrepresented groups and to conducting regular department-level review of our practices, from our curriculum to our own governance. Our department is stronger when it derives from people of various lived experiences—individuals whose race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, class, and age offer invaluable perspectives that enrich our community.

We believe that writing and reading form the foundation of conscientious citizenship, so our curriculum prepares students to pursue argumentation, criticism, invention, and collaboration—all ways of knowing founded in mutual respect and civic responsibility. We engage conversations on difficult topics, and while those dialogues may be uncomfortable, they bring students into contact with historical and political realities that may differ from their own, which we believe is an important element of a liberal education. In practice, students learn to read the assumptions that shape everyday life and to write toward social and structural change—from the stories they tell about themselves and the world to the policies they design. Through a curriculum centered in humanistic values, our students acquire the knowledge and skills they will need to be thoughtful and responsive in their chosen fields and to contribute to democratic principles and values.

As scholars and practitioners dedicated to writing studies in a time when some of the globe's most pressing existential threats seem insurmountable, we are committed to nurturing the imagination through play, experimentation, and reflection. Issues such as global warming and systemic racism can be so calcified that reason alone seems impotent, but writing can put these issues into focus, and our imaginations can help us discover the language to shape kinder, more equitable, and more sustainable societies.