Division of Rhetoric


The College is committed to writing as an instrument of learning, evaluation, and expression in all aspects of the curriculum. It therefore offers instruction in rhetoric to first-year students to develop their abilities as writers and thinkers in the context of the demands placed on them at a research university.

Rhetoric courses focus on the skills needed to write successful essays throughout the college curriculum. The courses show students how the process of reading and writing is itself a mode of thinking deeply and clearly about any subject. Faculty instruct students in a variety of widely applicable strategies for interpreting texts, generating ideas, and drafting and revising essays, with attention both to grammatical correctness and stylistic refinement. Students learn how to evaluate and respond to scholarly arguments, develop an effective thesis, organize and substantiate an argument, and conduct research in a large university library. In addition, faculty strive to inculcate a sensitivity to the power of language and the rhetoric we encounter daily in words and images.