In the Composition Program we teach the process of argument as a process of responsible inquiry, as opposed to persuasion for its own sake. Students learn that open-minded inquiry includes attending seriously to arguments of people who may be very different from themselves and judging others’ ideas fairly and according to the quality of reasons offered in their support. Students learn the importance of earning their conclusions in this context. Logic alone is not a sufficient means to this end, since the success of a fully developed argument will depend on the writer’s attitude and ability to understand the audience. Our courses welcome students to inquiry and written reasoning in the university, giving them the foundation to build upon in the conventions of writing in coursework for their majors.
All writing courses use readings as a starting point for analysis, discussion, and writing, and many section of WR 121, WR 122, and WR 123 explore a particular theme. Beginning winter quarter 2014, we will publicize the topics of themed writing sections here.