Message from the Director
Welcome to the website of the CAS Writing Program.
Since its founding in 2001, the Writing Program has endeavored to help BU undergraduates acquire writing and communication skills and more general habits of mind essential both to their full participation in the intellectual life of the university and to their future personal, professional, and civic lives. The program pursues this mission both directly, through its courses and tutorials, and indirectly, by supporting other programs, departments, and schools in their own efforts to attend to their students’ writing.
The Writing Program’s curriculum is extensive. Most BU undergraduates satisfy their writing requirement through the Writing Program’s two-semester sequence of topic-based writing seminars, WR 100 and WR 150. The program offers over 350 sections of these seminars every year and enrolls students from every four-year undergraduate college at the university. Many of these seminars (The Craft of Fiction; The Memoir; The Poetry of Robert Frost) have literary topics. But many others (Debates in the History of Medicine; Visions of Technology and Society) have non-literary emphases. Some (Fantasy at the Fin-de-Siècle; Imagining the Vietnam War) focus on specific historical moments. Others (Approaches to Death; The Nature of Consciousness) explore basic aspects of the human experience. Some (American Singing; The First Amendment; Representing Race and Religion in the United States) focus on America. Some (Russian Literary Masterpieces; Entering Europe) have international or comparative emphases. And a fair number (Boston’s North End; Public Gardens and Urban Wilds: Boston’s Natural History) focus specifically on our city.
But whatever their particular topics, all of these seminars share the same core goals. They are all designed to help students hone their abilities to craft substantive and balanced arguments, to write clear and compelling prose, to read with comprehension and critical discernment, to conduct college-level research, and to converse about complex ideas with thoughtfulness and care. In working toward these ends, the Writing Program does more than prepare students for subsequent courses; it also contributes directly to the liberal education BU is committed to providing to all of its undergraduate students.
While offering the WR 100/150 sequence is the Writing Program’s main responsibility, the program serves the university and its students in many other ways as well. It offers a sequence of courses for non-native speakers and writers of English, maintains a writing center through which students enrolled in its classes can receive individual consultations about their writing, and provides pedagogical training and teaching opportunities to doctoral students representing a wide range of fields. Finally, the Writing Program has strong ties to a number of other CAS departments and programs, including English, History, Classics, Chemistry, and the Core Curriculum, as well as to a number of other BU schools and colleges, including the School of Management, the School of Education, and Sargent College. Through these relationships, the Writing Program’s impact extends beyond its own immediate courses and students to the entire university community.
Ultimately, however, the Writing Program is not defined by the services it provides or even by its curriculum; it is defined by the people who teach and learn within it. Class by class, conversation by conversation, draft by draft, it is their extraordinary work that brings the Writing Program and its curriculum to life.
It is my privilege and pleasure as director to invite you to explore what the CAS Writing Program has to offer.