Guide to Making and Using Writing Assignments

Creating assignments can be a way of structuring a First Year Seminar.  Putting in the time to create assignments first can help “writing” and “content” work together so that “writing” does not appear to distract from “content” but, to the contrary, enhances the teaching of content, and vice-versa.  Here is some advice for creating writing assignments that help students to learn “content” and think about and discuss it innovatively, precisely, and assertively.

Twelve Elements of the Scholarly Essay*

1. Thesis:  your main insight or idea about a text or topic, and the main proposition that your essay demonstrates.  It should be true but arguable (not obviously or patently true, but one alternative among several), limited enough in scope to be argued in a short composition and with available evidence, and central to the topic you are discussing(not peripheral).  The entire essay should be relevant to it.  Note: some explanatory or descriptive essays or papers may not require a thesis as described here.

On First-Year Advising and Course Selection

"Good advising is an important aspect of good teaching. . . .Through our collective mentorship, we can realize the mission of the College - to educate students in the traditions of the liberal arts in an environment which reflects a commitment to excellence."
-Karl Lindholm