Seminars in Critical Inquiry

Writing within Your Discipline

Writing Enhanced Courses and Seminars in Critical Inquiry

Growth in student writing is rarely linear, and providing multiple opportunities for students to develop as writers throughout their time at New College ensures an overall positive trajectory as students move from writing pseudo-academic prose (i.e., FCAT, AP, and SAT essays) to expert insider prose by the time they graduate (i.e., the thesis). The aim of all “flavors” of writing courses  (SCI, WEC, and Writing Studies) is to help students transfer (reject, modify, repurpose, or adapt) their previous knowledge of writing to fit their current courses’ expectations, as well as to prepare students to continue to transfer what they learn in these courses to their future courswork and, ultimately, to writing in their professional lives after New College. Introducing different types of writing with varying levels of disciplinary specialization at each stage of a student’s time at New College can guide the student through this trajectory.

For example, first- and second-year students can benefit from writing longer papers that allow them to practice breaking large assignments into smaller pieces; drafting, revising, and editing over time; applying active reading strategies; collaborating with others for support/feedback; and exploring a variety of writing and research processes.

3rd and 4th Years can benefit from understanding disciplinarity (that different disciplines have different genre conventions, methodologies, style preferences, etc.); being introduced to field-specific discourse communities; and shifting their perspective on writing and research in their own AOC from novice to expert.

Writing Enhanced Courses and Seminars in Critical Inquiry (marked as “Writing Enhanced” on the list of NCF course offerings) are courses designed by faculty in any area — they may even be adapted from a course you’ve already taught — with additional professional development and support from the Writing Program. These courses are designed to guide students through gaining and transferring discipline-specific knowledge through writing. Faculty are not expected to be experts in teaching writing, research, or reading in order to sign up to teach these courses, and they are fully supported by the Director of Writing and Assistant Director of Writing as they develop and implement them. Additional support may also be offered by the librarians and the Student Writing Assistants.

Please review the criteria below, and if you would like to participate or have any questions, please contact the Director of Writing (

Writing Enhanced Courses are designed to help students move from novice approximations of writing in a discipline into expert prose by the time they are composing their thesis. While many WECs are designed for 1st or 2nd year students, some are more appropriate for higher level students.

Criteria include:

  • Multiple, well-scaffolded formal and informal writing assignments that target specific writing outcomes
  • Multiple opportunities for revision
  • Attendance in professional development seminars facilitated by the Writing Program.

WEC courses that are aimed towards 1st and 2nd year students, SCI courses are rigorous, challenging, optional, and inquiry-driven topical seminars that include an introduction to foundational writing and research skills.

Additional criteria include:

  • All WEC criteria
  • No pre-requirements
  • Capped at 15 students
  • Introduction to and application of one discipline-specific research methodology

Links to PDFs of samples and guides are coming soon!

Links to past WEC syllabuses and assignment prompts coming soon!