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General Information

Writing Program

Mission Statement

General Education and Interdisciplinary Liberal

Minor Requirements

Credit by Examination

Dr. Shelley Aley, Director

Phone: (540) 568-2334
Web site:

Associate Professors
E. Gumnior, S. Aley

Assistant Professors
H. Comfort, S. Ghiaciuc, K. Kessler, M. Moghtader, S. O’Conner, T. Pipkins, K. Schick, M. Smith, M. Thomas, K. Wright, P. Zemliansky,
J. Zimmerman

K. Jefferson, M. Klein, K. McDonnell, C. Martin, M. Turner

Mission Statement

The Writing Program seeks to prepare students for academic and professional success, as well as to lead lives of articulate and thoughtful citizenship. The study of Writing and Rhetoric includes first year composition and covers a wide range of topics: literacy studies, rhetorical traditions, writing pedagogy, cultural rhetorics, and computer-assisted composition, among others. Students wishing to pursue advanced training may elect the Minor in Writing and Rhetoric as a valuable complement to a host of different academic majors and professional fields.
In support of campus-wide writing, the Writing Program sponsors e-Vision, an electronic publication of student essays written in the first year composition classes and Write On!, a campus-wide academic writing contest for both undergraduate and graduate students. Writing Program faculty serve as mentors for First Year Involvement (FYI), a peer tutoring program. Writing Program faculty also serve as consultants to other JMU departments and programs desiring to enrich their curricula through writing. In addition to the first year composition course required by General Education, and to promote excellence in writing at the University, the Writing Program shaped and cultivated the Writing in the Disciplines initiative in the College of Arts and Letters. Every student in Arts and Letters must take an approved, upper-division, writing-intensive course in his or her discipline.

General Education and Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies

The Writing Program is proud to participate in General Education by offering a focused course in freshman composition, GWRIT 103, Critical Reading and Writing, including sections for Honors students. GWRIT 103 introduces students to academic writing and research, and prepares students for a writing intensive experience in the discipline. As a course in the discipline of writing and rhetoric, GWRIT 103 introduces students to written argumentation such as they would practice in their personal, academic and civic lives and encourages them to analyze and reflect upon civic responsibility as it relates to written communication.
Students who have previously taken GWRIT 102 may substitute that course as an equivalent for GWRIT 103. WRIT 100 is available for ESL (English as a second language) students and others who may wish to enhance their writing preparation prior to taking GWRIT 103. Students who have received credit for GWRIT 101 are not eligible to receive credit for WRIT 100. Students who have received credit for GWRIT 102 are not eligible to receive credit for WRIT 100 or GWRIT 103.
Writing faculty are active participants in creating and sustaining the Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies (IDLS) major for teacher education students, K-8. This includes advising students, developing and staffing IDLS 400, Capstone Seminar, and making Writing minor courses available as electives to IDLS majors in the Humanities/Social Sciences concentration area.

GWRIT Placement and Exemption

For information about how students may receive credit or exemptions for GWRIT 103, please refer to Cluster One.

Minor Requirements

Writing and Rhetoric Minor

The Minor in Writing and Rhetoric is designed for students who wish to extend, enrich and formalize their training as writers.
The minimum requirement for the minor is 18 credit hours. The Writing Program offers the following courses:

Credit Hours

Required core courses


WRIT 210. Critical Reading and Argumentation
WRIT 220. Rhetorical Traditions


Electives from among the following


WRIT/ENG 290. Intermediate Composition
WRIT 310. Studies in Literacy
WRIT 320. Writing in the Public Sphere
WRIT 330. Technology and Writing
WRIT 340. Teaching Writing
WRIT/ENG 396. Advanced Composition
WRIT 399. Independent Study in Rhetoric and Writing
WRIT 400. Special Topics Seminar in Rhetoric and Writing
WRIT 410. Studies in Cultural Rhetorics
WRIT 430. Style and Stylistics




Experimental WRIT courses may be counted as electives, as well as writing courses offered by other departments (with the approval of the Writing Minor adviser or Program Director).


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