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Issue No. 5—Fall 2012
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New First-Year Writing Seminar


The beginning of fall classes Aug. 20 was also the beginning of a new era of undergraduate education at Rice University. Last November, the Faculty Senate approved the addition of the Program in Writing and Communication (PWC) and was formally launched in January 2012. In its inaugural year, the PWC opened the Center for Written, Oral and Visual Communication (the Center). Through the Center, undergraduates will now complete a First-Year Writing-Intensive Seminar (FWIS), a graduation requirement for all undergraduates and the first revision of the curriculum in nearly 40 years. Forty-two sections of FWIS are offered this fall, and another 35 sections will be offered in spring 2013.

Though diverse in subject matter, all FWIS share two key characteristics: All meet a set of criteria for what is considered a “writing–intensive” course, whereby students are required to write and revise papers, writing is discussed in class, and students have the opportunity to meet with their instructor for feedback. All FWIS must be taught in a seminar format, with discussion and in-class exchange of ideas fundamental to the class. This ensures that every first-year student will have an intimate classroom experience and thereby develop confidence to participate actively in their other classes.

Located on the south mezzanine of Fondren Library, the Center is staffed by a three-person team of experts in writing, ESL and communication education, who also oversee an extensive staff of student communication consultants.

For more information on the PWC, FWIS and the Center, please visit http://Pwc.blogs.rice.edu.