About Writing, Rhetoric & Digital Studies


Faculty outside of the Writing, Rhetoric & Digital Studies Department are often curious about the kind of work that students do in our classes and how they might be able to build on it in their own classes as they ask their students to write.  The most important thing for all faculty to know is that our students’ writing development is an on-going process, one that will continue for a lifetime. If we think about the multiple ways faculty write now--emails, grant proposals, texts, review materials, academic articles, textbook chapters, blog posts etc.--we know that our own literacy development is also spiral and ongoing.   

Students learn best as writers when they can see themselves as novices at two distinct points in their university education in order to be open to new ways of writing (Yancey et al., Writing Across Contexts, 2014) The first place to adapt this novice stance is in first-year writing, where students must transition from the expectations of high school writing to that of college writing. The second place where students benefit from a novice stance is when students enter their major and must learn how to write within a particular discipline. Knowing that students need continual support as writers as they navigate their way into college and then disciplinary writing is key.