Skip to Content
  • Courses in the Spotlight

The department is pleased to offer the following courses:

Fall 2016 Upper-Level Offerings:


WTNG 270: Travel Writing 

Dr. Kate Mele  TTH 9:30 -10:50 & 11:00-12:20

Like so many travel writers who have taken up residence in the places they write about, students in this course will tell the story of their home away from home:  Bristol, RI. Bristol’s history, culture, natural environment, and favorite pastimes will serve as the sites of exploration and inspiration for travel pieces that inform, persuade, and reflect.  

What do we need to know to become travel writers? Travel writing is a type of professional writing that has public ends—and it takes many forms, so we need to study those forms, or genres. And we need to develop a particular ethos because travel writers are researchers, explorers, observers, and participants. We need to be curious and adventurous, and we need to be responsible to our readers and those we write about. Travel writers are serious about their craft, too, so we need learn how best to make use of writing process and rhetorical knowledge to create appealing texts.

Travel writers breathe life into the world through words and images for readers who ask what is this place really like? Our goal is to answer this question for prospective RWU students and their families by creating a variety of documents that are well researched, accurate, imaginative, and personable. We will showcase these documents during the last week of class at the Celebration of Writing sponsored by the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition.

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102
  • Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Minor and Core Concentration

WTNG 301: The Rhetoric of Narrative 

Dr. Christian Pulver  T/TH 12:30-01:50PM

This course explores storytelling as a rhetorical act that functions to persuade others, build knowledge, fashion identities, and create audiences. Students learn to use rhetorical concepts like ethos and identification to interpret a variety of narratives – such as fables, fairy tales, and parables; white papers, constitutions, and other claims to political autonomy; testimony taken from war crimes trials, tribunals, and truth commissions; literacy narratives; and their own family stories. Throughout this course of study, students have opportunities to critically reflect upon and write about narratives that have shaped their own identities and/or moved them to action.

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102
  • Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Minor and Core Concentration
  • Satisfies an English elective requirement

WTNG 311:  Technical Writing

Dr. Mel Topf  T/TH 11:00am-12:20pm

Students will apply fundamental concepts of effective technical writing that will prepare them for writing in industry, government and other professional contexts in which technical documents help achieve major goals. Focus will be on a major social or political issue. The technical writer, far from merely transferring technical information, must make judgments about his or her discourse community, purpose, and rhetorical situation. Students will study key principles of rhetorical theory, the idea of genre, and the concept of a professional audience. Technical documents studies may include feasibility studies, proposals, progress reports, and policy statement.

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102
  • Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Minor and Core Concentration

WTNG 320:  Writing for Business Organizations

Dr. Paul Bender  MWF 10:00-10:50am & MWF 11:00-11:50pm

This course explores the causes of the success or failure of writing for business organizations. The course takes a case-based approach, with a focus on college and university divestment from fossil fuels. Students will study the theory and practice of business writing as a pragmatic effort to accomplish specific goals. Included are the study of genres of business documents, ethical and social problems, the causes and consequences of writing failures, and the problems addressing the interests of business readers as a discourse community.

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102
  • Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Minor and Core Concentration

WTNG 321:  Multimodal Writing in Public Spheres

Dr. Dahliani Reynolds  M/Th 3:30-4:50 & M/Th 2:00-3:20

This course challenges traditional conceptions of what a writing class looks like. Through using a variety of methods for rhetorical expression — including visual, auditory, and digital, as well as textual — the course aims to teach students how to teach themselves the multimodal tools to more effectively communicate to a broad spectrum of public audiences. Writers write for public audiences for a number of reasons: to advance the work of the nonprofit sector, to inform a public audience about a communal issue, to prompt others to take action or effect change, and to educate an audience about public policy. Whatever the motivation, writing for the public demands an awareness of audience needs, an understanding of the rhetorical situation, and a fluent command of appropriate writing conventions across a variety of media platforms. As writing in public spheres is produced across a variety of media—from blogs to tweets to visual images to print-based texts—we will produce and analyze multimodal compositions meant to accomplish a specific outcome for a particular audience. Our work in this class, then, will be to explore the theoretical, rhetorical, and ethical considerations of writing in public spheres through learning about and making use of a variety of rhetorical concepts and media platforms.

Note: previous experience with digital or multimodal composing not required.

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Minor and Core Concentration
  • At least sophomore standing or consent of instructor

Recent Course Offerings