Why Study Writing at New College?

New College Students write.....a LOT!

it’s all about writing

At New College you’ll find yourself challenged to produce all different kinds of writing, from literature reviews and lab reports to longer research or persuasive papers. You’ll be asked to make formal presentations and to share research with your classmates. You might submit an essay for a national prize or write a proposal for a grant to support your thesis research.

Some New College students have published their writing before graduation — both fiction and academic research. But our alumnae/i are even more impressive writers — that’s one of the reasons New College students get hired in businesses, public service, nonprofits, educational institutions, legal offices and the publishing industry.

However, at New College, we don’t expect you to be a flawless writer when you first step foot on campus. Rather, we will work with you to help you transfer your knowledge of reading and writing from high school to your first year, from your previous institution to ours, from your New College courses to your thesis, and ultimately, from New College to your life after New College.

The New College Writing Program’s mission is to offer the highest quality of writing education at New College. To do that, the Writing Program draws upon current research to create and support a cohesive set of innovative and intellectually rigorous courses as well as to develop dynamic resources for the entire campus community.

  • We offer a variety of Writing Studies courses; whether you are a first-year student or just starting on your thesis journey, we have course for you.
  • We partner with faculty to develop and support Writing Enhanced Courses in a range of Areas of Concentration. These “big questions” courses invite you to use both exploratory and formal writing as a way to develop and display your critical thinking and to engage in revision, or re-thinking, as you progress through the course.
  • We actively encourage you to utilize our Writing Resource Center, where trained Student Writing Assistants (SWAs) are available to act as a “practice audience” for you, regardless of your AOC. SWAs also ask good questions and are great listeners, so we get very excited when you visit us to explore your ideas before you begin writing! Through the WRC, we also offer regular workshops, share tips via social media, and host writing related events.
  • We conduct research studies, like our 2015 Study of Writing, so that we can better design courses and activities for you!

There are numerous opportunities for you to write outside the Writing Program; for example, we encourage you to start your own literary journal, or to take a course with the visiting Writer-in-Residence, or to join the Catalyst student newspaper team, or to apply for an internship that will allow you to develop your writing skills even more.

If you have questions about writing at New College, please don’t hesitate to contact us at writing@ncf.edu.


Go ahead. Write something.

Writing Resource Center

Think one part idea-maker, one part collaboration engine, one part mind-spinner and one part coffee-provider.

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Faculty Writing Resources

There are many ways that the Writing Program can support faculty and their students.

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Current Writing News and Research

The latest in ongoing research and presentations at the WRC.

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Some of the courses we’re offering in 2016 include:

Writing Studies: Writing about Writing

In order to work towards cultivating their own theories of writing, students in this course will explore foundational texts in fields such as writing studies, educational psychology, and applied linguistics. Students will have the opportunity to apply those theories to developing their own writing processes by reflecting back on their formative literacy experience as well as by transferring their knowledge of writing from high school to college. Students will be introduced to rhetorical genre studies in order to investigate the genre conventions of their anticipated areas of concentration. Students who successfully complete this course will leave well prepared to take on the challenges of college level writing in any discipline.

Writing Studies: Advanced Research Writing

This course is designed for students who are entering their first semester of thesising (with an anticipated May graduation), and with approval of the thesis sponsor:

Developing a large, written long term research project (i.e. the senior thesis) typically requires a series of skills, approaches, and writing styles that students may not have had the opportunity to explore in their other classes. Students enrolled in this course will be working through the early stages of an independent, written long term research project and will explore the form and function of research writing genres within their own field of study. In order to do this, they will discover and utilize tools for managing large scale writing projects, such as task and time management, setting incremental deadlines, and keeping research/reading journals. They will explore a variety of generic writing styles, such as description, synthesis, and analysis. And, they will practice good writing habits, such as communicating with collaborators (i.e. a thesis sponsor), and mitigating distractions, isolation, procrastination, and perfectionism. Further, they will develop and apply knowledge of writing processes, such as brainstorming, searching for patterns, organizing, reorganizing, revising, refining, and proofreading. Class will consist of discussing readings, reviewing strategies and resources, group work, and focused writing time. Students are responsible for the development of the research and field-specific content of this project, and the course will offer the opportunity for students to explore and develop their strategies for communicating that content through writing.

Writing Studies: Pedagogy in Practice

This course will offer an introduction to the theory and practice of one-on-one peer instruction, specifically in the field of writing. Students will develop a foundation in theory and practice in writing studies, education, and communication from which they will be able to construct their own writing tutoring philosophies. Students will: explore ways in which learners approach reading and writing and why these approaches are highly individualized; consider the impact that previous literacy knowledge has on acquiring new literacy knowledge; discuss and explain practical approaches to tutoring; and observe and practice tutoring in the New College Writing Resource Center. This course is a requirement for any student who wishes to apply to be a student writing assistant (SWA) in the New College Writing Resource Center. There are no pre-reqs for this course.


Writing Studies courses are grounded in Writing about Writing theory and pedagogy, wherein the content of the course is writing. Students read and write about writing in order to think critically about their own writing and writing practices; subsequently, they often change many of their beliefs about writing, which then impacts their processes and strategies.

Students in Writing Studies courses not only learn procedural knowledge (“knowing what”: e.g. what a thesis is) but declarative knowledge (“knowing how”: e.g. how to analyze the rhetorical situation to know how to develop the appropriate argument). All Writing Studies courses include both formal and informal writing assignments, provide multiple opportunities for feedback/feedforward, and facilitate ongoing revision of writing processes and products.

New College

Contact the Writing Program

Dr. Jennifer Wells and Alexandra Maass are prepared to help you take your writing to the next level.

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