Rhetoric, writing minor to be offered in fall 2011

Millions of Americans are writing regularly every day, according to a 2009 report from the National Council of Teachers of English. Advancements in technology now require people to have a wider range of writing skills to communicate. Emails, text messages, and Facebook and Twitter posts are rapidly affecting the way we share and exchange information in our social and professional lives.

Few people, however, notice how prominent and significant writing has become to everyday life.

A new rhetoric and writing minor, to be offered at RIC this fall, will examine new forms of technological writing and prepare students for writing situations they will encounter both at and beyond college, said Michael Michaud, assistant professor of English at RIC, who created the new minor.

The minor is one of two (the other being creative writing) that has replaced the old writing minor.

“We want [the rhetoric and writing minor] to pay attention to the role that writing plays in the 21st century globalized world,” said Michaud.

Though many courses at RIC require writing, it is often ancillary to the subject matter, said Michaud. Courses for the rhetoric and writing minor, however, will connect classroom writing to real-world situations.

The minor will focus on the development of writing skills, and present an opportunity for students who are interested, regardless of their major, to practice and enhance those skills to their fullest potential.

“We start from the idea that we all are writers,” said Michaud. “We don't want people to be intimidated.”

Becky Lynn Caouette, director of the writing program, and Jennifer Cook, assistant professor of English at RIC, also helped to create the rhetoric and writing minor.

Michael Michaud
Michaud and his colleagues believe the new minor will help students to navigate and communicate through online spaces, something that hed said is beneficial to students across majors, and will be invaluable in their future careers.

“You have to question, what do you need to be able to do or know to participate as a citizen in a globalized world and a democracy?” asked Michaud. The answer, he said, is writing.

The rhetoric and writing minor will also offer an expansion of new and updated course offerings.

A new Studies in Composition (ENGL 378) course will be offered in the fall, and will require students to analyze constructs about writing processes and determine how they relate to the globalized world.

Two English courses, previously known as Business Writing and Expository Writing, have been revised for the rhetoric and writing minor, and will be taught this fall.

Business Writing, now Writing for Professional Settings (ENGL 230), will provide instruction in professional communication and help students to begin “thinking about the role of workplace writing in people's lives,” said Michaud.

Expository Writing has been changed to Writing for Digital and Multimedia Environments (ENGL 231). In this course, students will learn about the production and consumption of multimedia communication. This is the first English course at RIC focusing specifically on multimedia writing, said Michaud.

Two previously offered English courses are also part of the rhetoric and writing minor: Modern English Grammar (ENGL 433), which will be offered in the summer, and Topics (ENGL 350).

Three other new courses have been created for the minor, and will be available once enough student interest is generated from the courses offered in the fall. New courses include Writing for the Public Sphere (ENGL 232), Studies in Rhetoric (ENGL 379) and Internship in Rhetoric and Writing (ENGL 477).

For more information on the rhetoric and writing minor, contact Michael Michaud at mmichaud@ric.edu or (401) 456-8661.