Why does writing matter so much?

Why does writing matter so much?
Students in the lab.

There are some who think good writing only matters if you’re an English major. But check out any employment position description, and you’re likely to find “written communication” as one of the most important required skills. The ability to write clearly and persuasively in any field of endeavor is a marker of success.

What is distinct about writing in a true liberal arts setting?

It is hard to imagine something that is more central to the core of a liberal arts education than the ability to craft thoughtful and elegant prose.  At Denison, writing development is an important component in nearly all of our classes; we have a multifaceted program that is thoughtfully woven through all four years of a student's education. 

Writing and critical thinking are intricately connected: good writing truly is good thinking.  Writing is more than creating a good product; the process of writing is central to the development of ideas.  This sophisticated perspective is unique to top liberal arts programs like Denison's.  Developing critical writers/thinkers is part of the high-touch, personal education that is Denison's hallmark. 

What skills should I expect to develop in Denison’s writing program?

Denison students are taught to be effective writers. They take intellectual risks, creatively exploring ideas and seeing the connection between critical reading, thinking, and writing. They regard writing as both a product and a process, developing and refining their own habits and responding adeptly to feedback from other readers. And they grow to understand that writers join a larger community. They are able to see a piece of writing as participation in a broader, ongoing conversation, and are aware of the needs of diverse audiences.

Writing and critical thinking are intricately connected: good writing truly is good thinking.

The Denison Writing Program develops writers who view writing as critical thinking and understand that writing is a means to exploring a subject. Writing is a lifelong endeavor that Denisonians carry with them and continue to nurture in their post-graduate careers.

What resources are available for students?

Denison professors are students’ greatest resource. Not only are they talented and engaged—they also are accessible to their students.  Faculty from all of our majors participate in writing education.  Because Denison classes are small, professors are able to provide individualized attention for their students. Research shows that students develop writing skills most effectively in a one-on-one mentorship that features the exchange of ideas, teacher/student conferencing, and insightful feedback on multiple drafts.

In addition, The Denison Writing Center is a great resource, offering professionally trained, peer tutors. The staff consultants work with student writers to explore and develop their ideas, to refine and strengthen their message, and to organize and structure their work.  And specialized resources are available for students who are non-native English speakers.

    April 1, 2014