Director: Paul Lynch, Ph.D.
Assistant to the Director: Geoffrey Brewer, M.A.
Location: Adorjan 226
"The grade of [the rhetoric] class cannot be easily defined by certain set terms, for it aims at an education in perfect eloquence, which includes two most important subjects, oratory and poetics (out of these two, however, the leading emphasis should always be given to oratory) and it does not only serve what is useful but also indulges what is ornamental."
Jesuit Plan of Studies, 1599
Mission of the Writing Program
The English Department Writing Program teaches the fundamentals of persuasive composition. The Program's courses provide students with foundational knowledge of the writing, research, and rhetoric used in academic, professional, and civic arenas. Our courses invite students to compose using a variety of technologies of the word, including traditional print and new media. Most importantly, the Writing Program teaches students how they may craft effective and ethical persuasive messages, the basic components of what the Jesuits called eloquentia perfecta, or "perfect eloquence."
Writing Program Courses
The Writing Program offers four courses:
English 1500, "The Process of Composition"
English 1900, "Advanced Strategies of Rhetoric and Research"
English 1920, "Advanced Writing for Professionals"
English 4000, "Business and Professional Writing"
Unless they arrive with equivalent credit, most SLU students will take English 1900 as part of their core requirements. Some, however, will start with English 1500. Students begin in 1900 if they score either 25 or better on the English portion of the ACT or a 600 on the Evidence-based Reading and Writing portion of the SAT. It is advisable to take these courses in the first year of study, as they provide a foundation for subsequent work. English 1920 is reserved for students in the Parks College of Engineering. Finally, many students will also take English 4000, usually later in their academic careers. Any questions about these courses can be fielded by the Director of the Writing Program.
Almost all of our courses are taught in the departments' Computer-Assisted Instruction Lab, located in Des Peres Hall. The lab provides laptops and other digital media equipment for students in English Department writing courses.
The Writing Program also works closely with other units across campus, particularly University Writing Services.
The Writing Program recently revised the student learning outcomes for English 1900 and 1500.
They are as follows:
By the end of English 1900, students should be able to do the following:
1. Write and design persuasive messages for specific purposes, audiences, and contexts.
2. Analyze messages and arguments using a sophisticated rhetorical vocabulary.
3. Summarize, paraphrase, and quote appropriate research sources accurately and fairly.
4. Evaluate their own compositions and rhetorical choices.
By the end of English 1500, students will be able to:
1. Employ a recursive writing process that includes invention, prewriting, revision, editing, and proofreading.
2. Analyze writing according to its basic rhetorical features, including purpose, audience, and context.
3. Write essays that respond both to personal experience and to other texts.
4. Write sentences and paragraphs that are stylistically appealing and conventionally appropriate.
5. Evaluate their compositions and reflect on their own processes.