May 21, 2022  
Undergraduate Catalog | 2021-2022 
Undergraduate Catalog | 2021-2022

Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies

Using print and digital technologies to create, design, and produce texts now requires new ways of thinking about writing as a concept and practice.  The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies teaches 21st century strategies for reading, analyzing, and composing in multiple media and contexts.  By building their critical thinking, audience awareness, design and problem-solving abilities, students learn to communicate effectively across academic disciplines, workplaces, and in public spheres.  By learning to evaluate the implications of print, digital, and social media compositions in both local and global contexts, students are prepared to navigate known, new, and emerging writing situations and media.  Students have opportunities to engage in real-world research, tutor in the Writing Resource Center, and work with faculty on problems where communication matters.

Degrees and Programs

The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies offers a minor and major, both of which serve students who want jobs that demand expertise and flexibility in digital communication; in moving texts from print to online and visual forms; in understanding data-driven analyses; in the design of multimodal as well as digital-born texts; in universal design that provides access; in global, rhetorical competency.  These abilities consistently top the list of job sector demands across the board.  With such a major, students have been hired by tech companies, website and social media developers, community service organizations, banking, customer service, historical societies, Human Resources, food and restaurant businesses, advertising, marketing museums and arts organizations, educational organizations: any job that requires communicating with targeted audiences through a variety of media are well-served by a writing major.  The B.A. in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies also serves as qualification for graduate school degrees in interdisciplinary areas, computing, law, and others that require complex analysis, composing and informational literacy skills.

The department includes the First-Year Writing Program, the foundational course in Writing Studies and part of the University’s General Education Program  requirement.  Students write extensively as they engage in critical reading and research to develop an extended inquiry project that integrates materials from varied sources; write in multiple genres for various purposes and audiences; revise, edit and reflect on their writing with the support of the teacher and peers; adopt digital technologies to network, compose, and/or critique and disseminate their work.  Grades are derived primarily from portfolios comprised of work generated throughout the term.

Determined by high school performance and SAT/ACT scores, students are placed in either:

The Writing Resource Center (WRC) provides one-on-one and group consultation on writing projects to students in all disciplines, whether a first-year or graduate-level student, as well as to faculty and staff.  Students can bring in any writing task-assignments, personal statements, applications, research, digital compositions-for assistance in an active, collaborative learning environment.  Consultations are held through face-to-face meetings, asynchronous e-tutoring, or synchronous web conferencing formats.

Staffed by trained undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplines, the WRC offers not only writing assistance to others, but teaching experience and leadership opportunities to tutors as they develop their own writing abilities and interpersonal skills.  All tutors participate in ongoing professional development in theory, research, and practice of writing and tutoring pedagogy.

The WRC staff also gives presentations and hosts workshops across the University on topics such as avoiding plagiarism, documenting sources, peer response, and revision strategies.

To learn more, visit, and to schedule an appointment, visit