Loyola University Maryland

Writing Department

Course Descriptions for Spring 2023 Offerings

WR 200.01: Intro to Creative Nonfiction

Counts as a Peace and Justice Minor Studies elective

TTH   10:50 AM – 12:05 PM 
Instructor:  Prof. Jane Satterfield 

Creative nonfiction is true stories artfully told. Nonfiction writers hail from all disciplines and walks of life; they top bestseller charts with styles that range from the traditional to the experimental. They pay witness to and advocate for the common good. In Introduction to Creative Nonfiction, you’ll learn strategies successful writers use to protest, persuade, and entertain while drawing on the dynamic energy of great fiction.     We’ll read personal essays and profiles with a special focus on today’s cutting-edge flash nonfiction to help you explore outlets for your publishing future. Our class will offer a supportive atmosphere where you can receive feedback and cultivate creativity. By semester’s end, you’ll have a portfolio of work that showcases your unique take on stories that matter most to you.  Whether you want to preserve the people and places and things you love, share your discoveries with the world, or speak out for social justice, our class will help you harness the power of real-life stories to reach a wider audience in the classroom, in the workplace, and beyond. All majors and levels of experience welcome! 


WR 200.02: Introduction to Creative Nonfiction

Tues. & Thurs., 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
Instructor: Dr. Terre Ryan

Creative nonfiction is the art of telling true stories. By reading and analyzing various works of nonfiction, students learn techniques that writers use to shape truth into vibrant, engaging stories. You’ll gain practice writing in various styles and forms of nonfiction, including flash nonfiction, memoir, literary journalism, and more. You’ll share and critique one another’s work in an encouraging, creative environment. And you’ll have the opportunity to tell your stories in ways you may not have imagined. By semester’s end, you’ll have produced a portfolio of polished works that you can share with the world. What stories do you want to tell? Students from all majors are welcome.


WR 220.01: Introduction to Rhetoric

TTH 1:40-2:55
Instructor: Dr Lisa Zimmerelli
Welcome to Introduction to Rhetoric! Through close analysis and production of non-fiction prose, you will  develop  an  understanding  and  appreciation  of  how  speakers  and  writers  employ  strategies—first  articulated  by  classical  rhetoricians—to  persuade  a  variety  of  contemporary  audiences. Special emphasis is given to the dynamic relationship between writer, audience, text, and social context. This class is ideal for students who wish to further develop skills essential in both academic and civic settings.  As a domestic diversity-designated course, we will specifically use rhetorical concepts to help us understand the connections between persuasion and diversity in the U.S. Together we will examine the  connections  between  language,  identity,  and  power,  and  you  will  learn  and  practice  how  to  produce  prose  that  is  sensitive  to  diverse  audiences  and  capable  of  addressing  complex  social  issues.  Some  of  the  questions  we  will  explore  this  semester  include:  How  do  people  construct  particular identities through language, and how do they use their identities to support particular arguments? How do people’s social, political, and cultural power affect the rhetorical choices they make?  How  do  rhetorical  practices  translate  across  group  boundaries?  How  does  a  diverse  audience affect the persuasiveness of an argument?  Readings include:  Plato, Aristotle, Martin Luther King, John Lewis, The 1619 Project, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, and many others

WR 230.01: Intro to Poetry and Fiction

T/Th 9:25 AM - 10:40 AM 
Instructor: Prof. Helen Hofling  

This class will explore how poetry and fiction work and how to translate close observation as readers into our own creative writing. Is a poem like a message in a bottle, as Celan wrote? Or is a poem, in the words of Valéry, “really a kind of machine”? How do great stories build imaginary worlds, involving us in characters whose minds feel as real as our own?

We will learn about writing through exploration, experimentation, practice, and dialogue. This class aims to foster a community of writers who are excited about what they are creating—generating ideas, attempting new forms and techniques, developing their voices, and responding to each other’s work. Students can expect to read and write different kinds of poems and stories, as well as short forms that blur the distinctions between the two. No previous creative writing experience is required. 


WR 230.02: Introduction to Poetry and Fiction

TTh 3:05-4:20 
Instructor: Prof. Karen Fish

This is a foundational course for those with little or no experience with fiction and/or poetry. You might simply want to “try it out.” I find it impossible to teach writing without teaching close reading. This semester you will read like a writer and gradually learn how to notice the many technical choices that authors make. Reading closely can give us ideas and provide context. I am interested in inspiring you and fostering an atmosphere where it is enjoyable to experiment and practice, rewrite and revise. Writing is finally about studying good writing and finding things worth writing about. 


WR244.01: Fundamentals of Film Studies

Counts towards the Film Studies minor

Instructor:  Dr. Brian Murray

TTH 3:05 – 4:20 PM


In Fundamentals of Film students watch and analyze movies that represent different eras and countries, and reflect a variety of styles and genres, including Comedy, Horror and Science Fiction. We will also become acquainted with the language of film—with the wide variety of shots, angles and special effects that have made movies by such directors as Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, and Steven Spielberg both highly popular and critically acclaimed. Along the way, we will also discuss and write about such related topics as violence and censorship, as well as the technological and economic factors likely to change the way movies are made and watched in the future. Course requirements include weekly written responses and a critical essay on a related film topic of the student’s choice.  


WR 301.01: Writing About Science

Tues. & Thurs., 9:25 – 10:40 a.m.
Instructor: Dr. Terre Ryan


Students in WR 301 practice techniques of writing nonfiction for popular magazines and engage in rhetorical analysis of representations of science in the media. Students read contemporary popular nonfiction that draws on science and learn how writers use the art of prose to contribute to scientific literacy. This course is ideal for those who want a career in writing or for students who simply want to improve their skills. A background in science is not required, but the course counts toward the Forensic Studies minor and the Environmental and Sustainability Studies minor.


WR 320.01: Argumentation

Tuesday 3:05-5:35pm
Instructor: Dr. Lisa Zimmerelli

Students study the structure, role, and use of argument in everyday contexts, from personal conversations to political controversies. Newspaper editorials, feature articles, policy memos, open letters, courtroom speeches, and election debates are just a few examples of the argumentative genres that students analyze or compose. Students learn to identify and employ a range of argument types and to spot and respond to fallacies. Ideal for students interested in law, public service, and business.

WR326: Technical Writing 

Instructor: Dr. Tiffany Curtis  
Section 1: W 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. 
Section 2: TH 4:30 – 7:00 p.m.

In this section of technical writing, you will develop your ability to write and communicate in a professional environment. This course will focus on using industry-standard approaches to writing and research and on refining your writing skills for various audiences. To best prepare you for a workplace setting, you will produce standard professional documents, as well as instructions, technical descriptions, and reports. Students will also practice project management, collaboration, workplace ethics, and basic research methods through usability testing. This course is designed to reflect the new needs of the market, encompassing those students in STEM fields and in the humanities.  


WR 343.01: The Mafia in Film (Special Topics in Writing About Culture)

Tuesday 4:30-7:00pm
Instructor: Dr. Brian Murray

We start by reading about the history and influence of the Mafia as it evolved from Sicilian roots to exert influence in Italy, Europe, and the United States. We will examine the organizational structure of the Mafia, and how it reflects tendencies present in human societies throughout history. The Mafia, or “The Mob,” or “The Outfit” or whatever it’s called has been a continuing topic of interest in American and European movies from the silent era until today. We will watch, discuss, and write about some of those films, including Mafioso (1962), The Godfather trilogy (1972-1990), Goodfellas (1990) Gomorra (2008) and Black Souls (2014), considering (for example) how organized crime has been sometimes glamorized in the movies, a tendency some recent titles have aimed to redress. We will also consider a few films that reveal Mafia-like structures and practices in other influential spheres. Course requirements include weekly written responses and a longer critical essay.

WR 345.01: Screenwriting for Film and TV

Monday 3:00-5:30
Instructor: Prof. Lucas Southworth


“Screenwriting for Film & TV” is for writers who have always had the secret (or not-so-secret) dream of writing for movies or television, for those who want to peek behind the curtains of Wes Anderson or Jordan Peele, and for those who always laughed at Seinfeld and The Simpsons but never really understood what made them so moving and so funny. Although many, many people are involved in producing/editing/lighting/directing a film, we should remember that movies and television all start with the writer. To become master screenwriters, we must first cover the basics of format and structure, covering the “spec script” and the “inciting incident,” the “beat sheet” and the “back story.” And, as if we’ve trekked out to Hollywood, we will follow the process of the working screenwriter by conceiving, pitching, outlining, and revising. After careful study of work by professional screenwriters, we’ll then assemble our stories into scenes, sequences, acts, and dialogue. Final project: a completed screenplay! 

WR 353.01 Contemporary Essay

 TTh 10:50-12:05
Instructor: Prof. Karen Fish 

This course will blow away any preconceived notions you might have had about "the essay" by showing that the essay is WIDE OPEN. If you want more power and creativity as a writer of "real" stuff (non-fiction), this is the course for you. We'll read all kinds of essays by writers who have helped revolutionize techniques and strategies for making their writing vivid and captivating -- and true to life. And we'll write a variety of essays, long and short, that will help you discover the breadth and depths of your writing abilities. 
The contemporary essay is a genre of playful subversion—and in this course, we will learn how the essay uses fact to push the boundaries of narrative, thought, and form. This course is designed to sharpen your skills not only as an essayist but as a creative thinker, applicable to any profession or career.

WR 355.W01: Travel Writing

Instructor: Prof. Julie Lewis
Asynchronistic course

In this section of Travel Writing, you will use writing to enrich the experiences you have while studying abroad. You will learn about the types of travel writing being written and published today and will write short essays and blog entries about your time abroad. You will also connect online with other Loyola students who are currently studying abroad in other locations and learn about each other’s host countries by reading and responding to each other’s writing. I hope this class will encourage you to more fully immerse yourself in your study abroad program by prompting you to explore your location and to reflect upon the challenges and rewards of living in another country.


WR 385.01 Special Topics in Creative Writing: The Poetics of Social Justice

Counts as a Peace and Justice Minor Studies elective

TTH 3:05 - 4 :20 PM
Instructor:  Prof. Jane Satterfield


This course explores contemporary poetry, prose, and multi-genre writing that seeks to promote social justice and engage the issues of our time. Our workshops will form a supportive environment where constructive feedback will help you hone a sequence of poems, flash essays, or micro-memoirs that can speak beyond the page about the issues you are most passionate about. You will leave the class with tools you need to produce powerful, and persuasive, socially engaged creative work. The course is for anyone who wants to deepen their creative process or explore writing as a path to social change. All majors and levels of experience welcome!


WR 387.01: Special Topics in Professional Writing: Contemporary Art

TTH 9:25-10:40
Instructor: Prof. Laurence Ross

This course is an introduction to writing about contemporary art for professional publication. We will look at a wide variety of artistic mediums—such as painting, sculpture, illustration, music, theater, film, fashion, and performance—to learn how to translate our first-hand experiences of art into words. Students will gain experience reading and writing in a variety of genres, including art reviews, feature-length essays, interviews, catalog essays, artist statements, and press releases. We will also practice how to write a pitch tailored for different publication venues and learn what we might expect when working with editors. 

Art writing is a field in which playful, unconventional, provocative, heterodox thinkers can challenge dominant cultural perspectives and shift popular discourse. Classroom conversations will examine the role of the cultural critic and consider what goals an art writer might have outside the judgement of art as “good” or “bad.” How can art writing create meaningful, timely dialogue with an artwork? In what ways might art writing have its own artistic merit? How might an art writer practice good citizenship, considering the different aims of local, national, and international publications? Exploration outside the classroom will be encouraged. All levels of experience with art are welcome.


WR400.01: Senior Seminar

Required capstone for Writing majors and minors


M 6:00-8:30pm

Instructor: Dr. Martin Camper


In this culminating course for writing majors and minors, we will read primary and secondary source texts in rhetorical theory, historical and contemporary, to survey a range of perspectives on, questions about, and debates over persuasion. Most of the rhetorical theory we read or read about will be from a diversity of rhetoricians in the Western rhetorical tradition, but we will also sample and read about theories from non-Western traditions. In addition to engaging with rhetorical theory through various modes and means, students will substantively revise significant work that could help them gain employment, apply to graduate school, or even become published, in light of one or more theories they encounter in the course. Students interested in taking this course from a creative writing perspective should consider registering for Dr. Crotty’s section of WR400.


WR400.02: Senior Seminar

Required capstone for Writing majors and minors


Th 4:30-7:00 

Instructor: Dr. Marian Crotty 


Senior Seminar is a capstone writing course required for all writing majors and minors that is designed to serve as a culmination of your writing coursework. In this section, you will read innovative contemporary creative writing from a variety of aesthetics and genres and use this writing to inspire your own work. You will also read and discuss author interviews and essays about writing that reflect on some of the artistic and ethical debates within the contemporary writing world. In the final portion of the course, you will write an artist statement and revise creative work that can be used in applications to jobs or graduate school. Students interested in taking this course from a rhetorical perspective should consider registering for Dr. Camper’s section of WR400. 


WR402: Writing Internship

Restricted to junior and senior writing majors, interdisciplinary writing majors, or writing minors. Written or electronic permission of the internship coordinator or department chair.


Instructor: Dr. Andrea Leary


You have taken the classes, completed the assignments, and polished your writing.  You’ve worked hard in each writing class to hone the skills you need to make your mark in the workplace. Taking the internship class will give you that extra edge. Not only will you gain valuable work experience in this course, you will leave with a professional portfolio, a potential supervisor recommendation, and opportunities for reflection and discernment. 

WR402, the three-credit internship class, allows you polish your resume, locate a workplace that fits your future goals, and learn in that environment for 120 hours during the semester (essentially 8-10 hours per week). Because this is a class, you will be asked to do some reading and writing on your experiences, but we will not meet in a classroom in order to allow you ample time at your internship. Instead, much of our communication will occur online, as we discuss your goals, challenges, and successes. You will work with The Successful Internship:  Personal, Professional, and Civic Development in Experiential Learning as a text, which will give you advice along with the opportunity to apply that advice to your experiences in your workplace. In addition, you will have the chance to read your classmates’ reflections and offer advice there as well. 


Classroom learning builds your foundation. Combine classroom learning with an internship, and you’ll have the experience you need to help you land that first job.


Jane Satterfield, MFA

Jane Satterfield, MFA

A poet and essayist, Jane Satterfield encourages her students to take risks and be flexible in writing different genres