Writing at Dartmouth

The writing component of the Institute for Writing & Rhetoric reflects writing at its best. Our aim is to educate students who are rhetorically flexible—students who can craft and communicate meaning effectively in any situation, both here at Dartmouth and across the world.

First-Year Writing

Through our first-year curriculum, we engage 100% of Dartmouth’s first-year students in a two- or three-term writing sequence that anchors the work that they will do in subsequent courses. Through our First-Year Seminars, we comprise the college’s largest interdisciplinary program, offering courses taught by professors in 95% of academic departments. The Institute’s two writing support services—RWIT and the Writing Assistance Program—serve 1,000 students every year. 

We take seriously our responsibility to educate students so that they have the rhetorical flexibility that will enable them to meet the challenges of a changing world.  Our faculty work via research and professional development conversations to anticipate new literacies, to embrace the transformations to writing that come with internationalization, and to accomplish all of our endeavors via evidence-based curricula that we continually assess and revise.

The Institute’s ongoing assessment of student writing, investigations into knowledge transfer, longstanding work in multimodal composition, and important forays into multilingual writing instruction enable us to take on 21st century instructional challenges, thereby helping our students to become adept communicators, and positioning Dartmouth as a national leader in composition instruction. 

Writing in the Disciplines

Research in the field of writing studies tells us that writing is not an ability that can be developed once and then automatically deployed in new contexts.  Rather, new kinds of writing demand new capabilities and understandings even as they build from previous learning.  Departments and programs, in interaction with writing faculty, are arguably the best sites for developing and offering advanced writing instruction. 

The Institute for Writing & Rhetoric recognizes the important role that writing and speech have in the construction of knowledge in any discipline. Accordingly, we are engaged in initiatives designed to provide students with regular opportunities to develop their writing and speech beyond the first year, within the contexts of various disciplines. 

Stay tuned to these pages—we’ll add materials regarding Writing in the Disciplines as we move forward with these important initiatives.