Mission Statement

The Writing Program at Middlebury promotes the use of writing and speaking in students' learning and in their ability to communicate what they have learned. College writing courses and individual tutoring introduce students to the conventions of academic discourse, the skills of critical and creative thinking, and persuasive argumentation. Through writing, students learn to use the methods of inquiry and the specialized language, forms, and styles appropriate to their disciplines. The Writing Program supports both faculty and students in their endeavors to achieve excellence in the teaching and learning of writing.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students should be able to respond to the demands of a variety of writing assignments and rhetorical contexts.
  2. Students should understand the connections among critical thinking, reading, and writing.
  3. Students should be sufficiently skilled in writing to complete senior written work successfully.
  4. Students should have developed a consciousness of the processes of writing that will enable them to produce effective writing both here and in their careers after Middlebury.
  5. Faculty should have ample opportunity and encouragement to develop their expertise in teaching writing.

Assessment Plan

  1. "Through writing, students learn to use the methods of inquiry and the specialized language, forms, and styles appropriate to their disciplines." Beginning in summer, 2010, twelve faculty from a range of departments will develop disciplinary rubrics and score approximately 160 first-year, sophomore, and junior writing samples to examine growth in disciplinary thinking and writing.
  2. "Faculty should have ample opportunity and encouragement to develop their expertise in teaching writing." In conjunction with CTLR and the committee addressing Standard 5 on Faculty, we will assess the Writing Program's role in providing "adequate support" for faculty "to improve instructional effectiveness" (NEASC Standards, 5.16).

WRPR0100: The Writing Workshop I


This Middlebury College course is for students who would like extra work on critical thinking and analytical writing. All sections of this course will address a variety of writing strategies. Each section will focus on a particular theme to be determined by the instructor. In fall 2010, we will read, discuss, and write about literature, film and essays, and we will explore technologies such as online informal writing and digital stories. This course does not fulfill the College writing requirement. Students take this course the same semester they take a First-Year Seminar.

Learning Objectives
  1. Students will acquire the skills to become more successful writers, readers, speakers, thinkers, and self-editors.
  2. Students will improve written skills in clarity, organization, grammar, and thesis development.
  3. Students will gain a better understanding of analytical writing, informal writing, writing to learn, the writing process, awareness of audience, and revision.
Assessment Plan

In fall 2010, we will assess students' progress in thesis development. Students will write, at least, three papers that contain a well-developed thesis. For each of these papers, students will write several revisions, meet with student peers to review their work, meet with a peer writing tutor to discuss revisions, and meet with a faculty member in an individual conference. Each student's progress in thesis development will be tracked both draft to draft and paper to paper.

WRPR0101: The Writing Workshop II


The nature of this course is to help students come to a better understanding of the essay. Students gain knowledge and skills that are transferable to other courses using writing. This course is taught as a workshop, meaning that we consider each other's essays, making suggestions, and this way becoming better editors of our own work. Essays are designed to begin with the personal and move towards the academic, thus drawing on personal experience as a way to connect with sometimes difficult subjects and ideas. Students begin to understand how their ideas on given subjects evolve through time as essays become more complex. Readings are used in the course, both fiction and non-fiction.

Learning Objectives

WRPR0101 emphasizes analytical writing, informal writing, writing to learn, research writing and revision. In this course, students will learn how to:

  1. Organize ideas to argue a point
  2. Develop an understanding on how effective grammar can lead to attaining voice
  3. Thesis development

We also work on strategies that will ensure students can transfer knowledge to other courses that require intensive writing. Students learn basic research, documentation and argument.

Assessment Plan

In the Fall, 2010 we will assess how students move from a personal voice, the first person, to the classic academic essay that argues a particular point. We will write 4 essays, each moving one step away from the personal and demonstrating how from the personal voice, a student can gain an understanding of how to (a) enter a difficult, even abstract subject and (b) commit to a point of view that can evolve into an argument.

WRPR0102: The English Language in a Global Context


In this course we will examine a variety of issues related to the global dominance of the English language. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to the topic, emphasizing themes such as migration, globalization, education, and identity. Throughout the course, we will explore the relevance of these issues to educators, linguists, and policy-makers around the world. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between language and global societies. The secondary aim of this course is to help students grow as scholars, strengthening their repertoire of reading, writing, research, and speaking skills. Course assignments and activities are designed to offer intellectual challenge and promote academic growth. Students will receive extensive feedback from peers and the instructor on their work, and will be expected to reflect critically on their learning throughout the course.


WRPR 102 builds on the on the writing, reading, and research skills developed in previous writing program courses. In this course, students will:

  1. Demonstrate an awareness of the ways that writing varies by audience, purpose, discipline, and genre.
  2. Reflect critically on their strengths, weaknesses, and goals as readers and writers.
  3. Improve as self-editors, becoming better able to synthesize and respond to feedback on their work.
  4. Engage more deeply with argumentation in their writing, reading, and speaking--being able to observe and evaluate tone, counterargument, and a variety of other rhetorical strategies.
Assessment Plan

In Spring 2010, we will assess students' growth as self-editors throughout the course. For each of three papers, students will be asked to synthesize the feedback they receive from peers and instructor, and write a self-assessment of the ways in which that feedback informed their revision and editing process for the final draft. We will look at these self-assessments as well as at the final draft to gauge the extent to which the writing responds to the suggestions made on earlier drafts. At the end of the semester, we will also ask students to submit a final revision of their "most improved" piece of writing, accompanied by a final self-assessment that outlines their strengths, challenges, and areas for continued growth, as reflected in that piece of writing.