Loyola University Maryland

Writing Department

Learning Aims

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Department Learning Aims

Effective August 2007

We in the Department of Writing celebrate writing's integral role in the tradition of Jesuit education. Our curriculum frames the spectrum of writing from literary to professional with the aim to help students understand the demands of each genre as a rhetorical act (a form of communication).

We believe that whatever the form and whatever the use, writing is the discovery and expression of an individual's thought--about the self and about the world. We are mindful that "thought" involves the whole person, that it is grounded in perception constructed by emotion as well as intellect. Students of writing learn to distinguish the difference between these two influences and use the strengths of each to write persuasively and powerfully.

Ultimately, the study of writing is the study of the self in the world and, more specifically, the study of how you represent yourself through writing and a study in how to engage in the world. Through the systematic study of the writer's art and craft, you will develop particular habits of mind, practices, and civic responsibilities that will serve you well no matter what field of study you pursue or what professional goals you seek.

Learning Aims

In our courses, you will read widely across genres, cultures, disciplines and media

  • to develop knowledge of the world beyond the self
  • to develop a language of cultivated response
  • to discern rhetorical and stylistic strategies that best suit particular arguments, situations, and audiences
  • to develop an appreciation of language

In order to produce finished, polished texts that show competence in the standards of English usage and style, you will:

  • write widely across genres and for a variety of purposes, showing an ability to adjust your style appropriately to audience and situation
  • develop a distinctive voice with original ideas through frequent practice
  • situate yourself in a larger intellectual conversation in developing and researching your ideas,
  • write multiple drafts of extended works in order to extend the rhetorical strategies you began in Effective Writing (see section "Writing in the First Year" as well as sections in Hacker portion such as "Composing/Style")
  • develop an ability to critique other's writing constructively and to use the same to effectively work collaboratively through frequent group exercise (workshops) and conferences
  • learn to use technology to the best advantage of your writing through daily exposure, understanding both the various forms of media and their rhetorical effects

WR100, Effective Writing Learning Aims

Effective September 2009

Writing, as the Loyola College Core statement of purpose makes clear, is an essential component of a liberal arts education: “Both long tradition and the needs of contemporary life mandate the ability to communicate effectively and elegantly as a primary goal of liberal education. Therefore, writing plays a central role in the core curriculum” (1992 & 2004 Core Review Committees). Because WR100 is an introductory course in the discipline of writing, it is only the beginning of a students’ development as college level writers. The course provides a foundation for faculty from across the disciplines to build on as they teach students the conventions and expectations of their disciplines. It does not—and cannot—replace sustained, disciplinary-specific writing instruction.

WR100 is based on several key assumptions: Writing is a complex activity that requires ongoing practice and guidance. It is a meaning-making activity used to make sense of the world around us and to communicate to others. It is closely connected to reading and critical thinking. Writing strategies, expectations, and criteria are context dependent; effective writing depends on the writer’s ability to understand and address audience, purpose, and topic. WR100, therefore, focuses on higher order activities, not remedial or basic skills. The goal is to teach students to approach writing as a rhetorical activity, not as a set of rules or conventions. In achieving this goal, the course attends to writing as both process and product within a community of writers.

Given this framework, the Writing Department has determined learning aims for WR100 Effective Writing on which faculty from across the disciplines can build as they continue to guide students in their development as writers. 

Over the course of the semester, students in Effective Writing will

  • Use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, critical thinking, and communicating
  • Explore how genre shapes reading and writing as they write different types of contemporary American essays
  • Analyze and respond to different rhetorical situations by adopting appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality
  • Formulate an original thesis, focus, or controlling idea and support it by using a variety of strategies, including analyzing and the integration of ideas and information gathered through research
  • Use flexible strategies for generating ideas, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading
    • Critique their own and others' work (balancing the advantages of working with others with the responsibility of doing their part)
    • Develop an effective writing process that encourages later invention and rethinking to revise their work
    • Use multiple drafts to create and complete an effective text, and
    • Generate texts that conform to conventions of edited American English.