Learning Outcomes Statement

By the time students graduate, they will have:

Established, in the first year, a baseline of knowledge about writing itself, core skills foundational to academic writing, and practice adapting writing to different audiences, genres, and modes.

Achieved, in the majors, skill in reading and writing in a disciplinary domain.

Refined, in electives, writing skill in contexts less familiar than those above, a key element to continuing to grow with and through writing throughout one’s life.

Cumulatively, these writing experiences will prepare students to write in many possible futures, including further academic pursuits, wide and varied professional contexts, and personal and civic life.

Additional description of FYW:

The focus and goals of FYW. Students, after this class, will understand and practice writing in the following ways:

As inquiry, or a way of knowing – we write in order to explore the world, each other, and ourselves; we write in order to guide our own critical thinking and to engage with the thoughts and work of others; we write in order to ask questions and pursue answers; we write responsibly by taking care to represent others and their work honestly and with integrity. We write as an intellectual practice.

As rhetorical, or a way of acting – we write to enact goals in relation to particular people and places; we select specific genres for particular tasks and carefully decide which of their conventions to follow; we write in order to connect. We write to make things happen in the world.

As informed by reading, which is the other half of writing— in order to write well, we become skillful readers and sophisticated rhetorical analysts, which inform how we write.

As an always emerging process—in order to continue to grow as writers throughout our lives, we attend to our own personal habits and processes of writing, including our practices of research, note-taking, brainstorming, drafting, revising, and collaborating; we also attend to our writing materials and environments and how they affect our writing and its effectiveness.

After taking Reintroduction to Writing, students will be familiar with and have practiced common moves in academic writing; applying rhetorical concepts to writing to different audiences and in multiple genres; and reflecting on their own writing practices and processes, including revising effectively.

Rationale for requiring a first-year writing course:

While at JHU, students need to cultivate writing skills that will serve them in college and beyond, a goal which includes both the ability to write to learn and the ability to write to communicate effectively. One required course cannot accomplish this complex goal on its own, but it can establish a shared baseline of knowledge and serve an increasingly diverse student population at Hopkins.

The first-year writing course, “Reintroduction to Writing,” will guarantee that all students receive a shared writing experience that combines rigorous academic writing with the rhetorical concepts necessary for students to adapt their writing throughout the curriculum and into further study and professional work.

In this course, students will practice critical reading and thinking, analytical and persuasive writing, and the standard conventions of academic writing. They will also gain facility with writing techniques that help them to acquire new knowledge, reflect on themselves and the world, and enable effective communication in a wide variety of settings through the study of and practice with rhetorical concepts like audience, genre, mode, and more.

With this course in place, faculty in the majors will be able to count on a shared vocabulary of writing among all students and a higher baseline of writing skill than currently exists.

Learning goals for writing across the curriculum (WAC) and in the disciplines (WID):

  • Write to acquire new knowledge in disciplinary domains, but also to continue to clarify and organize thinking more generally, and to grow – through writing – into a novice disciplinary identity.
  • Write to communicate effectively in a disciplinary domain by developing skills for reading and writing in the specialized forms of a major’s discipline.