Writing Department

Mission of the Department

  1. Through innovative and cutting-edge writing programs engage students in writing as a process of making form and meaning. Emphasis on the minutia and vagaries of the writing process; writing as a key to critical thinking; the aesthetical and rhetorical dimensions of texts; the development of style, voice and attunement to genre–all elements involved in the creation of high quality imaginative and factual texts.
  2. Make WestConn a community of writers with department members available as advisors and consultants with other departments to foster genuine writing across the curriculum. Play a key role in general education–preparing students to integrate writing in their chosen fields and to exercise a lifelong confidence in their ability to write.
  3. Maintain, enhance and develop innovative, vibrant graduate programs in writing.
  4. Train graduate students to teach writing.
  5. Train professional writing majors for work in business, publishing in all its facets, and teaching.
  6. Create synergies among all levels of the Writing Department curriculum–from basic (first-year) writing through the graduate level (M.A. and M.F.A.)
  7. Immerse students in the wealth of professional writing activities and talent in the region.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Writing Majors Will:

  1. Demonstrate strong critical thinking skills through writing for a variety of audiences, purposes, and situations.

  2. Demonstrate an extensive ability to identify, assess, and perform–in both academic and professional settings–the types of writing for the chosen area of focus, such as creative writing, professional writing, and journalism.
  3. Demonstrate a working ability to identify and perform types of writing outside of the specific area of focus.
  4. Produce a senior portfolio that demonstrates an increasing level of professionalism in writing in terms of choice of topic, application of style, and ability to produce error-free texts.

NARRATIVE

WestConn offers the first Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process in Connecticut. The MFA in Professional Writing (the first program of its kind) and the undergraduate Professional Writing Program both emphasize the synthesis of the creative writing such as poetry, fiction and playwriting and “practical” writing such as business and public relations, and journalism.

Western’s writing major has always stressed writing as a process and creative process. This philosophical and pedagogical approach has been highly successful, as the dramatic increase in Professional Writing majors since 2001 attests.

Located just 60 miles north of New York City, WestConn is quickly becoming a center for access to the arts, including the literary arts. Within one recent year the Professional Writing Program brought several well-known writers to campus, including Frank DeFord, Frank McCourt, Gay Talese, and Sabrina Tavernise. The new Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process positions WestConn as the “writing university” within the CSU system and capitalizes on the university’s regional advantage in author-rich Fairfield and Litchfield counties.

As has been the case with the Professional Writing major, faculty members of the department see themselves as writers among writers and will find it natural to work with students at all stages of their writing development. They bring to the early stages of writing instruction a professional understanding of the writing process and how it evolves.

The Composition program is an integral component of this department with faculty members committed to taking the lead in writing instruction across the university in general and for first-year students in particular. The concentration of remedial and first-year writing courses, professional writing courses, linguistics courses, and graduate-level writing, linguistics, and TESOL courses creates exciting opportunities for collaborations among students, faculty, courses, and departments.

The inclusion of Linguistics in the Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process adds an innovative dimension to the study of language in all its manifestations. For example, knowing how language works at different levels (phonemic, morphemic, semantic, syntactic, pragmatic, and discourse) and how language changes in response to the demands of science and technology greatly enhances the quality of writers the department produces. The TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) program, a natural adjunct to linguistics, focuses on training to address the growing need for ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers in this part of the state. This, too, fits within the mission of the department.